Deserving candidate for senator
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - March 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Our political horizon still appears to be quite dim. But some rays of hope are now emerging as embodied by a few candidates running for Senator. Even if our politics are still dominated by, and infested with, traditional politicians who win elections by illegal and improper means now mainly consisting of using “gold” and/or to a lesser extent, of using guns and goons, there are still some encouraging signs that we will eventually enjoy again the good old days when our political leaders were genuine statesmen, competent, well qualified and truly dedicated public servants.

One of the candidates for senator who brightens our political horizon is undoubtedly Attorney Jose Manuel I. (“Chel”) Diokno. He is the son of the late Senator Jose W. Diokno, an illustrious lawyer, staunch champion of human rights and courageous fighter for truth and justice. Chel Diokno is the founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law and the chair of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), the same organization once headed by his father. He has been practicing law for almost 30 years and gained prominence as a steadfast defender of human rights and a skillful trial lawyer. He almost became an associate justice of the Supreme Court in 2012 when he was nominated by the Judicial and Bar Council. The following year, he served as a member of the Supreme Court core committee of the National Conference for the Revision of the Rules of Civil Procedure and chaired the Post Cluster Technical Working Group. He also became a member of the panel of arbitrators of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes where he served for six years.

Aside from his work in the academe and the courts, Dean Diokno has conducted training courses: for the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO); on International Labor Standards and Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining organized by the Department of Labor and Employment in partnership with the International Labor Organization. Other significant training courses he conducted are: training of public prosecutors and law enforcers of the PNP and NBI; on forensic evidence for prosecutors; on anti graft and corruption laws; on medical documentation for municipal health officers; on civil and administrative suits as instruments of accountability for human rights; on basic legal competency for broadcast journalists; and on legal writing for Ombudsman lawyers.

He has also written training manuals for public prosecutors of the Department of Justice and the Office of the Ombudsman; for public attorneys of the PAO; for members of the Revenue Integrity Protection Service (RIPS) of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and other government offices; for members of law enforcement agencies, non-government organizations and private firms and for membership development program of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

Among the books he has written are the book on the Complete Guide to Handling a Case in Court and the Civil and Administrative Suits as Instruments of Accountability for Human Rights Violations and some book chapters in the Writ of Amparo, A Human Rights Perspective, In Rule of Law, Human Rights and Legal Aid in Southeast Asia and China.

His academic qualifications include among others, Juris Doctor of Laws, Magna Cum Laude, Northern Illinois University, USA; College of Law, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, University of the Philippines (UP), honorary member UP Writer’s Club, writing fellow, UP Institute of Creative Writing. He finished his elementary (1974) and secondary (1978) education at La Salle Green Hills where he became president of the Student Council and received the Gerardo Roxas Leadership Award. He was also admitted as member of the Illinois State, USA Bar in 1986 and Republic of the Philippines Bar in 1988.

His teaching experience includes being a full time faculty member of De La Salle University College of Law and Professional Schools Inc.; part time faculty member of the Ateneo Law School, Far Eastern University Institute of Law and Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication where he teaches various subjects on Law.

With all these impressive credentials in the academe and in the practice of law, Dean Diokno has already drawn legislative agenda consisting of six main planks: justice for all; strong social protection; inclusive economy; democratic and responsive political institutions; environment and climate justice and an independent foreign policy. Over and above all these items in his legislative agenda, Chel’s core aspiration is justice, to do everything in revitalizing our justice system so as to make it work for the people; and to see to it: that laws passed by Congress do not discriminate against the poor and the marginalized; that government does not use strong arm of the law to oppress people; that corrupt public officers and their cohorts are held accountable; and that those who violate the law, rich or poor, are punished, because “it is not the severity but certainty of punishment that deters crime.”

Dean Diokno will also support measures that will create an inclusive economy where every Filipino enjoys the self affirming opportunity to participate in economic production and to benefit from its fruits. He will also work for the improvement of our political institutions so as to insure that people can explore and realize their full potential as human beings. For this purpose he will work for measures that accelerate the decentralization – not federalism – of governmental power to broaden citizen participation in decision-making without weakening the accountability of their leaders; end political dynasties; and reform campaign finance and other acts that will level the playing field for qualified candidates who do not have access to economic resources.

With all these academic achievements, professional experience and training, as well as beneficial and impressive legislative agenda, Jose Manuel I. Diokno is definitely following the footsteps of his well loved and highly admired father, Jose W. Diokno. And with his campaign slogan of “Truth is the Power of the People” he really deserves our vote as senator.

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