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CHR’s Gascon unfit for public office

“If Gascon has any political delicadeza left in him, he should first resign his government post, before he continues his vocal attacks against the government.

Concept News Central

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A public officer is expected to live up to his oath to support and defend the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. That oath is broad enough to include a promise not to side with rebels who want to overthrow the duly-elected government of the Republic.

Under the Constitution, a public officer “must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

Reckoning by the foregoing standards, Jose Luis Gascon, the head of the Commission on Human Rights, is absolutely unfit for public office, as seen in his call for the revocation of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s Executive Order (EO) 70, issued in December 2018.

EO 70 created the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Aside from ending the communist insurgency in the country, the Task Force is required to promote good governance and to provide avenues for the delivery of basic services in isolated and depressed communities in the country.

Local communist groups denounced the Task Force and branded it as a justification for the military to harass human rights activists.

Gascon’s statement against EO 70 came days after the arrest of a journalist and four activists in Tacloban City on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. His statement was made public by his spokesman, a certain Jacqueline de Guia.

According to Gascon’s mouthpiece, EO 70 should be abrogated because it justifies military threats against and intimidation of individuals and organizations working for the improvement of human rights of various sectors of society.

Speaking for the Task Force, Major General Antonio Parlade Jr. accused Gascon of siding with the Communist Party of the Philippines and its front organizations. He maintained that Gascon and his mindless minions in the CHR prefer to believe the lies peddled by the local communists, instead of at least giving the benefit of the doubt to the Task Force.

Parlade has good reason to resent Gascon and his reckless management of the CHR.

The questioned arrests made in Tacloban City are all duly documented, and proceeded in accordance with the procedure required under the rules on criminal procedure. In other words, the matter is now with the courts of law.

Under the law, those arrests carry a presumption of regularity. As a lawyer, Gascon ought to know that. Apparently, he does not, and so it looks like he needs to attend a refresher course in Law. He should, because he heads an important constitutional agency.

As a government official, Gascon is expected to support and defend the Constitution, a duty which includes defending the duly-elected government of the country.

Instead of living up to his oath, Gascon has consistently behaved like an enemy of the government. His loyalty is not with the people who elected President Duterte, but with his lord and master, ex-President Benigno Aquino III, who appointed him to his current post.

From the way Gascon is behaving, many suspect Gascon was instructed by Aquino to create needless trouble for President Duterte.

Gascon is mandated by the Constitution to act with patriotism, but he appears to equate patriotism with his lapdog devotion to the politically disgraced Liberal Party of Aquino and his kenneled allies.

The Constitution demands that public officials like Gascon should lead modest lives. Perhaps it’s time for a lifestyle check on him. Just how much has his office spent on representation expenses?

Ironically, Gascon was one of 47 individuals handpicked by President Corazon Aquino to draft the 1987 Constitution. Has he forgotten what is written in the document he helped draft?

If Gascon has any political delicadeza left in him, he should first resign his government post, before he continues his vocal attacks against the government.

Gascon should also be brave enough to speak up in person, instead of hiding under the skirt of his spokesman. He should also stop believing that his LP will return to power and go back to its old, abusive ways.

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