by Derrick Manas
According to Atty Chel Diokno, the tons of papers and documents of his father, Senator Jose “Ka Pepe” W. Diokno disappeared when Martial Law was declared in 1972.
Ka Pepe Diokno was Senator from 1965 until the day when Martial Law was declared on September 21, 1972, though the official announcement didn’t happen until 2 days later on September 23 and he ceased to exist as a Senator of the Republic and were arrested along with others.
Congress was padlocked and during the entire duration of the Marcos regime, they were not able to get a hand and retrieved his documents. Marcos was deposed in 1986 and Ka Pepe Diokno passed away in 1987
It was confiscated by the military apparently and nobody knows what they did to those very important official documents of the Senate until today that could serve as references in analyzing and writing a part of Philippine history.
Along with it were the documents of other Senators who fought on the side of the opposition.Many of them were imprisoned such as Ninoy Aquino, Jovito Salonga, Lorenzo Tañada, Ramon Mitra among others.
The only ones they were able to keep were Ka Pepe Diokno’s documents about the many court cases he handled from the time when he was a young lawyer, (a bar topnotcher in 1945 with a grade of 95.3%), until he became Justice Secretary in 1961 and the human rights cases he pursued to defend the poor and the oppressed through the FLAG (Free Legal Assistance Group) which he established in 1974.
With that Atty Chel Diokno published 2 books entitled, the Model Pleadings of Jose W. Diokno and Diokno on Trial.
For historians like us, this is very disappointing. In fact in general, in most aspects of our history, the Philippines lack the capability of preserving old documents through proper archiving.
No wonder, I learned that Spain refused to turn over documents pertaining to the Katipunan which they confiscated when the Revolution broke out in 1896, basically because we dont have proper archiving in the Philippines, what more a state-of-the-art facilities.
So many historians would even travel to Spain just to make a research with all the financial expenses which many times they shoulder unless given a grant.
Celebrating the life and legacy of Jose “Ka Pepe” W. Diokno for his Birth Centennial (100 Years) on February 26. Born on February 26, 1922.