Benjamin Diokno

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Benjamin Estoista Diokno (born 31 March 1948) is an economist, academic and government official. He is currently the secretary of the Department of Finance under the administration of Bongbong Marcos.

Diokno was the secretary of the Department of Budget and Management under President Rodrigo Duterte from 2016 to 2019, as well as under President Joseph Estrada from 1998 until the latter's ouster in 2001.[1][2] He was the governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and ex officio chairman of the Anti-Money Laundering Council from 2019 to 2022 under President Duterte[3]. He was the undersecretary for budget operations of the Department of Budget and Management from 1986 to 1991 under President Corazon Aquino.[4]

From 2020 to 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Diokno was the highest paid government official.[5]

Early life and education

Benjamin Diokno was born on 31 March 1948, in Taal, Batangas to Leodegario Badillo Diokno and his second wife Loreta Estoista. Leodegario Diokno was the son of Gregorio Diokno (born 1870) and grandson of Ángel Diokno (born c. 1830), the patriarch of the Taaleño surname.[6] Diokno is the second cousin once removed (through common ancestor Ángel Diokno) of Atty. Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and is six degrees apart from the attorney Sen. Jose W. Diokno, who is Atty. Chel Diokno's father and is considered the father of human rights. Notably, though they are under the large Diokno family that hails from Taal, Chel Diokno ran against the Duterte administration in the 2019 and 2022 senate elections, while Benjamin Diokno served it.[7]

Benjamin obtained his bachelor's degree in public administration from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in 1968, and subsequently earned his master's degrees in public administration (1970) and economics (1974) from the same university. He also holds a master's degree in political economy (1976) from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA and a doctroate degree in economics (1981) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, USA. His dissertation "Public Sector Resource Mobilization through Local Public Enterprises in Developing Countries : Issues, Practices and Case Studies" looked at using local public enterprise as alternative means of mobilizing funds for public purposes.[8]


During the Aquino administration, Diokno provided technical assistance to several major reforms such as the design of the 1986 Tax Reform Program,[9] which simplified income tax and introduced the value-added tax (VAT), and the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines.[10]

During the Estrada administration, Diokno instituted several reforms that would enhance transparency and improve the efficiency of the delivery of government services. The first major reform instituted was the "what you see is what you get" or WYSWIG policy that is a simplified system of fund release for the General Appropriations Act (GAA). This allowed agency heads to immediately plan and contract out projects by just looking at the GAA, which is available in print and at the DBM website, without waiting for the issuance of an allotment authority.[11] Diokno initiated the reform of the government procurement system (GPS) through the adoption of rapidly improving information and communications technology. He secured technical assistance from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help the GPS develop an electronic procurement system along the lines of the Canadian model. By August 1999, the DBM had two documents necessary to initiate reforms in public procurement. In early 2000, Diokno and USAID successfully concluded a substantial technical assistance program for the DBM's budget reform programs, which now included procurement reform.[12] Other budget reforms instituted by Diokno concerned procedures for payment of accounts payable and terminal leave/ retirement gratuity benefits. The release of cash allocation were programmed and uploaded to the department's website while payments were made direct to the bank accounts of specific contractor.[11]

Diokno is a professor emeritus of the School of Economics of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He served as fiscal adviser to the Senate. He also served as chairman and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration. He was also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (City University of Manila).

In his third tour of duty as Budget Secretary, Diokno intended to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy to finance investments in human capital development and public infrastructure. In addition, he seeks for the passage of a Budget Reform Bill to ensure the compliance of future budgets with the pertinent laws of the land. He also aims to re-organize and professionalize the bureaucracy with a Government Rightsizing Act. On 4 March 2019, President Duterte appointed Diokno as the fifth governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), and was set to finish the unexpired term of his late predecessor Nestor Espenilla Jr. by July 2023.[13]

But on 26 May 2022, then president-elect Bongbong Marcos announced that he would nominate Diokno as the next Finance Secretary in his incoming administration,[14] replacing Diokno in the role of the governor of BSP, with Felipe Medalla, who will finish Diokno's unexpired term.[15] Diokno subsequently took his oath at the Malacañang Palace on 30 June 2022 following the inauguration of Bongbong Marcos as President.


  1. "Estrada-era Budget Sec. Diokno accepts Duterte offer to return to post", GMA News, May 31, 2016. 
  2. Benjamin Diokno curriculum vitae Archived October 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  3. Duterte picks Diokno as new Bangko Sentral chief (March 4, 2019).
  4. Managing the Politics of Reform - Template:ISBN Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Ramos, Christia Marie (2022-06-20). Ben Diokno still highest-paid official in 2021; Calida slides down to 12th spot.
  6. Leodegardio Diokno y Badillo.
  7. "'Your Concern Is Human Rights, Mine Is Human Lives,' Duterte Says in Fiery Speech", July 23, 2018. 
  8. Dissertation Abstracts International: The humanities and social sciences. A (1982).
  9. University of the Philippines Discussion Paper No. 0502
  10. Republic Act No. 7160
  11. 11.0 11.1 Department of Budget and Management
  12. Campos & Syquia. 2006. Managing the Politics of Reform: Overhauling the Legal Infrastructure of Public Procurement in the Philippines. World Bank Working Paper No. 70
  13. Alegado, Siegfrid (March 4, 2019). Philippines Names Diokno as Central Bank Chief in Surprise Move.
  14. "[1] Marcos Jr. picks BSP Governor Diokno as next finance secretary]", Philippine Star, May 26, 2022. 
  15. "PROFILE: Seasoned economist Felipe Medalla taking helm of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas", ABS-CBN News, June 30, 2022.