Filmmaker shares Jose Diokno’s documentary in response to Enrile’s video

September 24, 2018 - 6:21 PM
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To Sing Our Own Song - Martial Law Documentary BBC (1983)

What really happened during Martial Law? In 1983, Jose W. Diokno narrated this documentary for the BBC. Watch and witness history for yourself. #NeverForget

Posted by Jose W. Diokno on Friday, September 21, 2018

Filmmaker Pepe Diokno shared a BBC documentary that was narrated by his grandfather, the late senator Jose Wright “Ka Pepe” Diokno, in response to Juan Ponce Enrile and Bongbong Marcos’ video attempting to counter historical narratives on the Martial Law period.

The Diokno family countered Enrile’s claim that only those with criminal records were arrested by the regime and granted release:

“Are we now to take torture, forced disappearance, and loss of life as forms of ‘inconvenience? The denial of freedom ‘for a while’, whether for a day or for decades, is simply not acceptable, and stating it as a fact—’They were inconvenienced for a while’—distorts the truth.”

Pepe, the late senator’s namesake, posted a link to the documentary released in 1983 titled “To Sing Our Own Song.” It featured a critical perspective of the Marcos regime and the human rights abuses committed during those years.

The documentary ended with an inspirational note where Sen. Diokno says, “It looks impossible for my people to get out of this trap.”

“But we will. I know my people. Even if we have to wade through blood and fire, we will be free. We will develop. We will build our own societies. We will sing our own songs,” Diokno adds.

Remembering Jose Diokno 

Jose Diokno was a justice secretary (1961 to 1962), a senator (1963 to 1972) and the founding chair of the Commission on Human Rights and the Free Legal Assistance Group.

He spent his political career promoting human rights, defending Philippine sovereignty and enacting pro-Filipino economic legislation.

He belonged to the same political party as Ferdinand Marcos. However, when the latter suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in 1971, Diokno resigned from the Nacionalista Party and protested on the streets.

He was one of those who were shortly arrested when the whole country was placed under martial rule. Diokno was detained with Ninoy Aquino and Chino Roces but after two years, he was released without charges.

Jose Diokno sits with people in a protest. (Facebook/Jose W. Diokno)

In 1974, Diokno created the Free Legal Assistance Group. It was an organization that offered legal services to the victims of martial law. The organization was considered the first and largest association of human rights lawyers created in the Philippines.

As its founder, he personally defended the oppressed, particularly members of tribal groups, peasants and social workers threatened by exploitation and military atrocities.

He also documented different cases of tortures, summary executions and reported disappearances that occurred during the Marcos regime.

After the EDSA People Power Revolution, Diokno was appointed the founding chairperson of the Presidential Committee on Human Rights by the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino.

He resigned from his post in 1987 following the Mendiola massacre, where 15 farmers were gunned down by military forces. He reportedly resigned out of disgust and sadness.

After his death, Diokno was conferred the Order of Lakandula with the rank of “Supremo.” It is considered the highest honor of the order. — Video from Jose W. Diokno Facebook page