Chito Gascon will be remembered in many ways: a student leader, the youngest member of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, a lawyer for the downtrodden, a coalition builder, a radical reformist, and a staunch advocate of human rights and social democracy.
In many campaigns, including debt reduction, freedom of information, public spending and taxation, Chito and Action from Economic Reforms collaborated.
Moreover, he was a doting father, a loving husband, and an affectionate friend.
He was a man who wore his heart on his sleeve, who did not shy away from showing you his tears or sharing his laughter and even his anger. He would be the first person to greet you on your birthday, no matter who you are. He was the kind of person who would believe in you so much that you would eventually learn to believe in yourself. It was his congeniality and humility that endeared him to so many.
Chito’s kindness and tenderness went hand in hand with bravery and resoluteness. He was indefatigable, and stood his ground in the face of threats or danger.
His courage was rooted in love: Love for the country, for the people, and love for what is just and true.
He always fought for justice. But Chito was a very different picture of justice. It was not the iron fist of justice. His justice was one that sought compassion and freedom rather than ruthless retribution. His justice was about having fairness and accountability, preserving dignity, and causing as little harm and suffering to everyone involved.
His was a passion that did not waver in the face of adversity and illness. He suffered much, and even in his final moments, he still had the glow of optimism and hope, and was extending a helping hand to those in need.
May Chito’s life inspire us all. We follow Chito: We stand our ground, we fight. We will never give up hope that peace and justice may follow.
If there is one thing that Chito’s journey on this earth has made abundantly clear, it’s that there is some good in this world, and it’s most certainly worth fighting for.