Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jose W. Diokno on Stamps

Jose Wright Diokno (February 26, 1922 - February 27, 1987) was a Filipino nationalist, human rights advocate, lawyer, senator and government minister.

Born to Ramon Diokno, a former senator and associate justice of the Supreme Court, and Eleanor Wright, an American who became a Filipino citizen, Jose "Pepe" Diokno graduated from elementary school with distinction, and finished his secondary education at De La Salle College in Manila as Valedictorian in 1937. In 1940, he earned his Bachelor of Science in Commerce Degree summa cum laude from De La Salle. He topped the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) Board Examination the same year with a rating of 81.18 percent. In 1944, without finishing his Bachelor of Laws Degree, he took and topped the bar examination, with a rating of 95.3 percent.

After the 1986 People Power Revolution, which effectively ended Marcos rule and was pivotal to Corazon Aquino's election to the presidency, Diokno was appointed to the chairmanship of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights, with the rank of minister, and led a government panel which tried to negotiate for the return of rebel forces to the government folds. However, after the “Mendiola massacre” of January 22, 1987, where 15 farmers died during an otherwise peaceful rally, he resigned from his two government posts in protest of what he called wanton disregard of human lives by an administration he had helped install.

At 2:40 a.m., on February 27, 1987, the day after his 65th birthday, Jose Diokno died at his home in New Manila, Quezon City. The cause of his death was acute respiratory failure due to cancer. Diokno was married to Carmen Icasiano, by whom he had 10 children.

President Aquino declared March 2–12, 1987 as a period of national mourning for Diokno. February 27 is celebrated in the Philippines as Jose W. Diokno Day. Although not a public holiday, on February 27 the flags of Filipino government buildings and installations throughout the country are flown at half-mast in his honor. Expressing her grief over the passing of Diokno, then-President Corazon Aquino stated that "Pepe braved the Marcos Dictatorship with a dignified and eloquent courage our country will long remember."

Stamp above issued on February 26, 1995.