The Fifth Commission
HON. JOSE LUIS MARTIN C. GASCONChairperson
He had most recently served as member of the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, the body mandated by law to administer a program of recognition and reparations to victims of the Martial Law Regime. At this office, he held a rank equivalent to Justice of the Court of Appeals. He is a political activist and social reformer who has been working on human rights, democracy, and governance concerns for over three decades.
Chito fought the Marcos dictatorship as a student leader. In the wake of the assassination of Senator Ninoy Aquino on 21 August 1983, he helped mobilize protest actions in schools demanding justice for all and radical political change. In 1985, He was elected Chair of the University of the Philippines Student Council in 1985 and led the youth movement that actively participated in the Non-Violent People Power Revolution in February 1986. He organized Human Rights Awareness Fairs in campuses and was an active member of Amnesty International Philippine Section at which he served for many years as a board member. He also actively campaigned for the release of Political Prisoners and visited detention centers with Lingap Bilanggo. He is a member of Liberal International's Human Rights Committee & was also alternate member in the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Judicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances established under AO 35. He was in the Official Delegation for the 2012 Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council in Geneva that was led by Justice Secretary and former CHR Chair Leila De Lima.
He has been involved in many different civil society political alliances working for human rights and democracy such as the Kongreso ng Mamamayang Pilipino (KOMPIL 1 & 2), Bansang Nagkaisa sa Diwa at Layunin (BANDILA), the Black & White Movement, Social Liberals & Democrats for the Advancement of Reforms (SoLiDAR), and Re:Publika@DemokraXXIa - a new network of progressive activists. He was previously the Executive Director to both the liberal think tank National Institute for Policy Studies (NIPS) from 1987-2002 and LIBERTAS - a lawyers’ network on the Rule of Law from 2005-2008. He was founding trustee and corporate counsel of the International Center for Innovation, Transformation, and Excellence in Governance (InciteGov) - the policy group of the so-called ‘Hyatt 10', and is part of its Advisory Group. He is Founding Trustee of the Institute for Leadership, Empowerment, and Democracy (iLEAD) and was in the organizing committee of the Asian Democracy Network (ADN). He was Director General of the Liberal Party from 2008-2011 and was Political Director of its successful 2010 National Electoral Campaign. He has taught Law, Politics, & Human Rights at the Political Science Departments at both the Ateneo de Manila and De la Salle Universities. He was also a Fellow at the Robredo Institute of Governance (RSIG).
In the transition to democracy, 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 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 (RA 7610). He has held several senior positions in government, such as separate stints as Undersecretary at the Department of Education (DepEd, from 2002-2005) & the Office of the President (Political Affairs, from 2011-2014). He was also a Board Member of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) from 2010-2011.
He served as Panel Member at Peace Negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF) from 2001-2004 and had served as the Chair from 2010-2014 of the Government's Human Rights Monitoring Committee (GPhMC) of that peace process within the framework of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). He has also assisted in peace negotiations involving the conflict with Muslim rebels in Mindanao as a member of the Technical Working Group on Power Sharing and Alternate Panel Member in peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and with the AdHoc High-Level Working Group for the Tripartite Review of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) together with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Peace Committee for Southern Philippines.
His continuing reform advocacies are in the areas 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. Among the fellowships and recognitions he has received are:
Benigno S. Aquino Fellowship for Public Service given by the US State Department’s Embassy in the Philippines in 2001
first Filipino recipient of both the Democracy and Development Fellowship at Stanford University's Center for Democracy, Development; and the Rule of Law in 2005; and Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellowship at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy in 2006
Asian Public Intellectual Fellowship given by the Nippon Foundation in 2007
Asian Leadership Fellowship given by the Japan Foundation in 2008
He has Bachelor of Arts (BA Philosophy) and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degrees from the University of the Philippines, and a Master of Law (LLM) degree specializing in International Law (Human Rights, Law of Peace, and Settlement of International Disputes) from Cambridge University as a member of St. Edmund's College through a joint British Chevening and Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholarship. He attended the 1997 Summer Institute on Human Rights administered by the International Institute for Human Rights with the European Human Rights Mechanisms in Strasbourg, France. He has also attended specialized seminars at the Theodor Heuss Academy for Freedom in Gummersbach, Germany and with the Center for Democratic Initiatives at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. He is married to Melissa P. Mercado and has a daughter, Ciara Sophia.
HON. LEAH C. TANODRA-ARMAMENTOCommissioner
HON. ROBERTO EUGENIO T. CADIZCommissioner
He has counselled in judicial-reform and public interest cases, and was one of the private prosecutors in the impeachment case against then SC Chief Justice. He also managed and supervised projects supported by international funding agencies on issues concerning Human Rights and Peace; Transparent and Accountable Governance; Rule of Law and Access to Justice; and Democratic Reform.
He is the Philippine Commission on Human Rights Focal Commissioner on Business and Human Rights, Environment, International Humanitarian Law, Peace, and Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Center for Crisis, Conflict, and Humanitarian Rights. He is also in charge of Human Rights Education and Promotion and is presently handling the Petition on Climate Change filed before the CHRP.
HON. KAREN LUCIA S. GOMEZ-DUMPITCommissioner
Karen was the first director of the Commission on Human Rights' Child Rights Center and served in that capacity for nine years. She was promoted to the post of Director. A Career Executive Service Officer IV since 1998, and headed the Government Linkages Office (GovLink) which undertakes cooperation as a mode of engagement with the executive, legislative and judiciary. As GovLink Director, Karen spearheaded programs that carry out the mandate to monitor government compliance with human rights treaty obligations particularly of its treaty reporting obligations; the harmonization of domestic laws in accordance with the standards and principles set by Core International Human Rights Instruments; monitoring of Philippine Jurisprudence that affirms human rights treaties; and advising the executive and other relevant state agencies on its implementation of the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
As Child Rights Center Director, she engaged with stakeholders in discussions on Juvenile Justice, which paved the way for the consolidation of Philippine Action for Youth Offenders, a GO-NGO coalition. In partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Council for the Welfare of Children, through Karen’s indefatigable efforts, a number of children were spared from death row through the establishment of minority. This partnership proceeded and worked towards the passage of R.A. 9344, the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act, among many other child rights policies and legislation. Karen has staunchly advocated for the rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, which earned her a Gawad Paglingkod Award from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippine’s Episcopal Commission for Prison Pastoral Care. In her capacity as the focal director for Migrant Workers, she worked with Civil Society organizations to partially lift the deployment ban of OFWs to Nigeria. Her current designations include representing the Commission’s advocacies with Human Rights Defenders and Older Persons.
Karen has been pivotal in the Commission's engagement with the United Nations Human Rights Council and Treaty Bodies which include reporting for the Universal Periodic Review, Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, Convention against Torture, Cruel and other Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
A credible CHR insider, her programmatic innovations in human rights advocacy include the Human Rights Approach to Legislation and groundbreaking engagements of the CHR in the Human Rights Promotion and Protection Mechanisms of the United Nations. Within this framework, the recognition of the Philippines’ UPR Tripartite Monitoring Body was cited as one of the world’s best practices in Human Rights Promotion as it seeks to bring together Government, Civil Society and CHR to work together to improve human rights situations at the national and local levels.
She finished AB Communication Arts in De La Salle University in 1989. In 1994, she her Master in Public Management, with honors, at the Development Academy of the Philippines. She obtained the degree Master of Science in Human Rights, with honors, as a British Chevening Scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2004. Born on March 28, 1966, Karen is the third of four children of former Press Secretary Tomas “Buddy” Gomez III and retired GSIS employee, Teresita Samson Gomez. She is married to Tito Augusto L. Dumpit and they have an 8-year old daughter, Margarita Aida.