CHR opens Liwasang Diokno freedom park

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) opened Liwasang Diokno to the public Monday at its central office in Quezon City, in celebration of the heroism of those who fought for human rights.

The park was dedicated to the late Senator Jose ‘Ka Pepe’ Diokno, who the Commission honored as a symbol of freedom, democracy, and human rights for challenging the Marcos regime.

“Tunay pong karangalan sa aming pamilya itong pasinaya ng Liwasang Diokno, lalong lalo na sa pagdiriwang ng Araw ng Karapatang Pantao,” said Atty. Chel Diokno, who was present to accept the honor on behalf of the Diokno family.

The younger Diokno, a seasoned human rights lawyer and the founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law, continues to lead the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), an organization that his father, Ka Pepe Diokno, founded. FLAG’s first clients were victims of martial law. Today, FLAG continues to serve indigent Filipinos seeking justice but have no resources to get to court.

“Ang salitang “karapatan” at salitang “katarungan” ay iisa laang ang kahulugan: gawin ang tama, ang nararapat, ang makatarungan. Bakit ayaw nilang pagusapan ang karapatang pantao at hustisya, bakit ayaw nilang isama ito sa ating national agenda,” added Diokno, who continues to push for judicial reform as part of his senatorial bid. “Dalawa ang nakikita kong dahilan: una, ayaw nila ng accountability o pananagutan, at pangalawa, ayaw nila ng empowerment – ayaw nilang bigyan ng kapangyarihan ang taong bayan.”

Atty. Chel Diokno, who himself served the Commission on Human Rights under Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos, further stressed the importance of accountability in furtherance of human rights:

“Justice and human rights are all about accountability – but the last thing those in power want is to be held accountable for their wrongdoings.”

Abe Diokno