MANILA—Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Chito Gascon said Saturday that the "major lapses" of the Noynoy Aquino administration led to President Rodrigo Duterte's victory in the 2016 national elections.
When asked by Reddit user tressamath17 during the site's "Ask Me Anything" series which factors contributed to Duterte's win, Gascon said the previous government "failed to connect with the grassroots."
"No government is ever perfect. And certainly the last Aquino administration had major lapses. If I were to characterize it, it was a basic failure to connect with the grassroots, in the sense that it was doing good things on a macro level but was unable to both communicate and connect that to the situation of ordinary people on the ground," said Gascon, who served as director general of the Liberal Party for three years.
Aquino appointed Gascon CHR chair in 2015.
"Also, I think there was a basic inability to acknowledge fault with regards to key events that affected public psyche, Yolanda and Mamasapano among others come to mind," he added.
When asked what would he like to say to the Duterte government, Gascon said: "Just follow the Constitution and we'll be fine."
Gascon and other human-rights advocates have been denouncing the current administration for a series of killings where police officers allegedly killed innocent teenagers.
Duterte recently called him a "pedophile" for fixating on the deaths of teenagers and said Gascon was attacking his administration because of his affiliation with the Liberal Party.
"He is really a spokesman for the Liberal and for the opposition who want me out of the presidency," Duterte said.
The CHR chief, meanwhile, denied that he was affiliated with Duterte's political opponents.
"I have not been involved in any partisan activity since being tasked to perform human rights programs first with the human rights victims claims board in 2014 & assuming my leadership of the CHR," Gascon said.
He described Duterte as "relentless" when asked by Reddit user jhnrmn to assign a one-word adjective to the president.
Gascon called Presidential Communications Operations Office assistant secretary Mocha Uson "misunderstood."
He did not explain why he characterized them as such.