I am actually referring to National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno who resigned from the Duterte administration in protest over President Rodrigo Duterte’s order allowing the remains of President Ferdinand Marcos to be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
The daughter may be a far cry from her more illustrious father, the late Jose “Pepe” Diokno, a noted Filipino nationalist who became a Senator of the Philippines, a Secretary of Justice, a founding chair of the Commission on Human Rights, and founder of the Free Legal assistance Group.
Not to be forgotten, however, is that Diokno, bar and CPA board topnotcher, went against the dictator Marcos by leading street protests when the latter suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and later arrested when martial law was declared, spending nearly two years in detention.
Of his situation and predicament Diokno made this famous quote: “Law in the land died. I grieve for it but I do not despair over it. I know, with a certainty no argument can turn, no wind can shake, that from its dust will rise a new and better law: more just, more human, and more humane. When that will happen, I know not. That it will happen, I know.”
There is no wonder, therefore, that Maria Serena gave up the NHCP chairmanship. The same flood flows in her and she is still her father’s daughter – principled, conscientious and incorruptible.
Duterte may be unmoved or unfazed by his decision to allow the burial of the dictator Marcos at the LNMB, saying he was trained as a lawyer to make judgments based on law and not on sentiment.
To some extent I agree, but more than law this is history, and history at its worst, mind you, where families are still seeking the truth about the disappearance of their love ones. It is bad enough that the Supreme Court dismissed petitions questioning the legality of Duterte’s decision and ruled that the tyrant could be interred at the LNMB as a former soldier and president since no law would prohibit it, but it is even unnerving that Duterte rammed it down the throat of the Filipinos thinking that it would suffice and put closure to this perverse issue.
But what made this perverse issue more revolting than ever is when the Marcoses use their power, influence and their scandalous money in government to hastily and surreptitiously allow the family to have the burial at the LNMB.
I salute Ms. Diokno for her bold stand and the relevance and conviction of her statements when she wrote History Lives, which I am reprinting below.