Chel Diokno and Ben Diokno: What’s in a name?

March 7, 2019 - 12:06 PM
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Chel Diokno and Benjamin Diokno are distant relatives. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

Technocrat Benjamin Diokno is the new Bangko Sentral governor and former Budget secretary of the Duterte administration, while human rights lawyer Chel Diokno is the senatorial candidate running in opposition to the administration.

But are the two related?

Chel’s son, acclaimed filmmaker Pepe Diokno, clarified on Twitter they are only distant relatives to Benjamin Diokno by seven degrees.

His response was to lawyer Gideon Peña’s tweet arguing that Benjamin and Chel’s same last name causes some confusion.

Peña juxtaposed photos of supporters of the human rights lawyer and the former budget secretary and then captioned the post with:

“A Tale of Two Dioknos: He is the spring of hope, he is the winter of despair.”

When one user asked about the relationship between the two personalities, Peña tagged the younger Diokno, who later responded:

“We share the same name, but my dad is distant in relation (7 degrees) and in beliefs,” he said.

Chel Diokno previously remarked about the matter on Twitter.

The degrees of kinship by consanguinity or blood can be difficult to determine particularly for relatives from the fifth degree or a person’s first cousin once removed and up.

Based on a table of consanguinity, a seventh degree relative is your first cousin thrice removed.

The older Diokno is the son of late Senator Jose Diokno, a Martial Law hero. Chel is also the founder of the Free Legal Assistance Group and founding chair of the Commission of Human Rights. He currently seeking a seat in the Senate at the mid-term elections this May under the opposition slate Otso Diretso.

Diokno has represented and defended the rights of many poor Filipinos throughout his career.

Meanwhile, the other Diokno has been part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team that pushed for his ambitious infrastructure program in the country tagged “Build, Build, Build.”—Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos