Who was Jose W. Diokno?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2017 10:46 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2017 01:01 AM

The Commission on Human Rights is unveiling Thursday the statue of its founding chairman and former senator Jose W. Diokno.

Diokno was senator of the Philippines from 1963 to 1972. Prior to being a lawmaker, Diokno served as justice secretary from 1961 to 1962 during the term of President Diosdado Macapagal.

Diokno was born on February 26, 1922 to Ramon Diokno and Leonor Wright. He earned a bachelor's degree in commerce at then De La Salle College, before he studied law at the University of Santo Tomas.

His law studies, however, were interrupted by World War 2. Diokno continued his education by reading his father's law books. 

After the war, Diokno was given special permission by the Supreme Court to take the Bar exams even without a law degree. He and Jovito Salonga tied at first place with a score of 95.3%

As justice secretary, Diokno started an investigation into American businessman Harry Stonehill, which turned up evidence of massive corruption in government. Diokno, however, was asked to resign after President Macapagal intervened in the case.

Diokno then ran for a Senate seat under the Nacionalista Party in 1963. As senator, Diokno focused on the interest of the country in important economic legislation and foreign policy. 

He was among those arrested when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972. 

Diokno was released in 1974, and along with Joker Arroyo and Lorenzo Tañada Sr., formed the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) to provide legal assistance to victims of martial law.

Diokno was married to Carmen Icasiano. They were blessed with nine children, among them former National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairperson Maria Serena Diokno and the current FLAG chairman Jose Manuel Diokno.

Diokno died of lung cancer on February 27, 1987, a day after his 65th birthday.

SOURCES:

Bantayog ng mga Bayani (www.bantayog.org)
Jose W. Diokno (www.diokno.org)
Senate of the Philippines (www.senate.gov.ph)