The Fifth Commission

HON. JOSE LUIS MARTIN C. GASCON
HON. JOSE LUIS MARTIN C. GASCON
Chairperson
Hon. Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon, or ‘Chito’ as he prefers to be called, is the current Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Republic of the Philippines. He is a political activist and a social reformer, with work focusing on human rights, democracy, and governance for over three decades.

Prior to his appointment, Chairperson Gascon served as a member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, the body responsible to administer recognition and reparation programs to the Martial Law Regime’s victims. He held a rank equivalent to Justice of the Court of Appeals.

During the term of President Corazon C. Aquino, he served as the youngest member to both the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution and the 8th Philippine Congress—passing a landmark legislation that institutionalized youth participation in local government (Sanggunian Kabataan), as well as a special law providing for special protection to children from all forms of abuse (Republic Act 7610).

Since Martial Law, Chairperson Gascon has continued his unwavering advocacies in the field of human rights; access to justice and the rule of law; transparency and accountability initiatives; political and electoral reforms; peace and conflict transformation; people’s participation and civic education; and state building in the context of democratic transitions.

Chairperson Gascon graduated from the University of the Philippines with an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, then later earned a Bachelor of Laws from the same university. He has a Master of Law degree in International Law (Human Rights, Law of Peace, and Settlement of International Disputes) from Cambridge University. He was also a recipient of various international fellowships, seminars, and trainings.

HON. LEAH C. TANODRA-ARMAMENTO
HON. LEAH C. TANODRA-ARMAMENTO
Commissioner

Commissioner Leah C. Tanodra-Armamento has been in government service for three decades.

Commissioner Tanodra-Armamento worked five years with the Office of the Solicitor General as an Associate Solicitor, where she assisted the solicitors in habeas corpus cases. She transferred to the Department of Justice (DOJ) and moved her way up from State Prosecutor to Senior State Prosecutor from 1991 to 2003. During her stay at the Justice Department, she created the Task Force on Agrarian Justice and established the guidelines in handling agrarian dispute-related criminal complaints. She also held a post at the Philippine National Police Reform Commission as the Secretariat Chairperson.

In 2003, Commissioner Tanodra-Armamento was appointed as the DOJ Assistant Chief State Prosecutor, where she chaired the legal panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) during the 1996 Review of the Final Peace Agreement’s Implementation between GPH and Moro National Liberation Front (MILF). Thereafter, she was appointed as DOJ Undersecretary. She introduced several reforms in DOJ including the crafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Law Against Enforced Disappearances, and established the Persons with Disability and Public Assistance Desk in every prosecution office in the country.

Commissioner Tanodra-Armamento has been involved with the Committee for the Special Protection of Children; Public Sector Labor Management Council; Presidential Commission on Human Rights; Payapang Bayan Task Force on Local Peace Initiatives (pursuant to Executive Order No. 696); National Council on Disability Affairs; DOJ Action Center; and DOJ Women-In-Development Focal Point for Women and Gender Concerns.

Commissioner Tanodra-Armamento graduated Bachelor of Laws from the Ateneo De Manila University School of Law. She was also a fellow of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2007.

HON. ROBERTO EUGENIO T. CADIZ
HON. ROBERTO EUGENIO T. CADIZ
Commissioner

Commissioner Roberto Eugenio T. Cadiz is the focal commissioner for Business and Human Rights; Environment; International Humanitarian Law; Peace; and Sustainable Development Goals at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Republic of the Philippines.

Since 2007, Commissioner Cadiz has managed projects funded by the USAID International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and the United Nations Development Programme. These projects also involved government agencies, such as the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Department of Education, and the CHR.

He has counselled in judicial-reform and public interest cases. He was also one of the private prosecutors in the impeachment case against former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. His affiliations related to his advocacies include Pera’t Pulitika, Transparency and Accountability Network, and Supreme Court Appointments Watch.

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Cadiz was a private law practitioner specializing in litigation while being the Executive Director of Libertas, a non-governmental organization which envisions an informed and empowered citizenry, adhering to the rule of law, and working within the framework of a functional democracy.
Currently, Commissioner Cadiz oversees the Commission’s Center for Crisis, Conflict, and Humanitarian Rights, as well as the Human Rights Education and Promotion. He is also presently handling the Petition on Climate Change filed before the CHR.

Commissioner Cadiz has a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Law from the University of the Philippines.

HON. KAREN LUCIA S. GOMEZ-DUMPIT
HON. KAREN LUCIA S. GOMEZ-DUMPIT
Commissioner

For more than 25 years, Hon. Karen Lucia S. Gomez-Dumpit has served the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) through various career posts.

Commissioner Gomez-Gumpit made several breakthroughs by being the first director of the CHR’s Child Rights Center, which she served for nine years. As Child Rights Center director, she engaged with stakeholders on discussions on Juvenile Justice—paving the way for the consolidation of Philippine Action for Youth Offenders GO-NGO coalition. Through Commissioner Gomez-Dumpit’s efforts, in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Council for the Welfare of Children, a number of children were spared from the death row through the establishment of minority age. This partnership proceeded and worked towards the passage of Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act.

Commissioner Gomez-Dumpit has also advocated for the rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, which earned her a Gawad Paglingkod Award from the Catholic Bishops Conference. In her capacity as the focal director for migrant workers, she also worked with civil society organizations to partially lift the deployment ban of overseas Filipino workers to Nigeria.

Commissioner Gomez-Dumpit has been pivotal in the Commission's engagement with the UN Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies, which include reporting for the Universal Periodic Review; Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; Convention on the Rights of the Child; and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Commissioner Gomez-Dumpit graduated from De La Salle University with a degree in AB Communication Arts. She later earned her Master in Public Management at the Development Academy of the Philippines. She also obtained a Master of Science in Human Rights degree, as a British Chevening Scholar, at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

 HON. GWENDOLYN LL. PIMENTEL-GANA
HON. GWENDOLYN LL. PIMENTEL-GANA
Commissioner

Commissioner Gwendolyn Ll. Pimentel-Gana has been active in helping formulate and lobby laws promoting the welfare of abandoned, neglected, and abused children by streamlining the adoption process, and providing for alternative child care means.

Commissioner Pimentel-Gana supported laws forwarding the protection of children from exploitation and discrimination; promoting the welfare of the kasambahays; protecting migrant workers from trafficking and exploitation; providing for reparation and recognition of human rights victims during the Marcos regime; and promoting the rehabilitation of prisoners among others.

She has also devoted her time in dealing with women and their families in crisis, cultural minorities, and refugees. She wrote the book Adopting A Filipino Child, The Intercountry Way as a guide for adoptive parents and social workers. Commissioner Pimentel-Gana also wrote the paper “The Study of the Adoption System and Legislation in the Philippines” detailing the state of adoption in the country.

Her firm belief that human rights must be upheld at all times was forged during the Martial Law era when her father Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., a lawyer and a public servant, was jailed without trial four times for opposing then President Ferdinand Marcos. Similarly, her advocacy for women’s rights was also shaped when her mother Lourdes “Bing” dela Llana Pimentel, a teacher, had to support their six children while Commissioner Pimentel-Gana’s father was in jail.

Commissioner Pimentel-Gana received her bachelor’s degree in International Studies at Maryknoll College. She earned her Bachelor of Laws and Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines.