DOCE Pares Supreme Grandmaster (SGM) Dionisio Cañete, who was credited for increasing interest in arnis and other Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) in and outside the country, died on Sunday, August 22, 2021, following a bout with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). He was 83.

Cañete’s death was confirmed by his son, Gerald, in an interview with SunStar Cebu on August 23.

Gerald, who is Cañete’s heir to the Doce Pares group and the executive vice president of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Pekaf), said he and his family were surprised by his father’s sudden death.

“It was unexpected. Even my father had been trying to trace how he got sick with Covid-19,” Gerald said.

The late grandmaster was buried at the Queen City Garden in Cebu City a day after he died.

He was buried beside his wife, Vicenta, who died in 2009.

According to Doce Pares HQ’s official profile, Cañete belonged to the second generation of the famous Cañete brothers of Cebu City, who founded the Doce Pares style of arnis in 1932.

He was the youngest son of the late Grandmaster Eulogio Cañete who headed the organization from 1932 until his death in 1988.

Under Cañete’s leadership, the Doce Pares group started to promote and develop arnis into what it is known today.

Cañete also served as the first charter president of the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Wekaf) after a successful world tournament held in Cebu City in 1989.

Cañete was also as a lawyer.

He passed the Bar examinations in 1969 at age 22. He served as president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu Province chapter from 1983 to 1985.

Cañete controversially filed a request before the Supreme Court in 2017 to have himself delisted from the Attorney’s Rolls after he was reportedly fed up with the alleged corruption plaguing the judiciary and prosecution service.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Sen. Miguel Zubiri mourned Cañete’s passing and described him as a “mentor.”

Zubiri, chairman of the Philippine Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Pekaf) and is an avid Arnis practitioner himself, said he last saw Cañete with his son in July 2021.

Zubiri also credited the late SGM for helping him organize the arnis competitions during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

“It was an honor to have been his student and his friend and I’m beyond words for the loss of such a legend in the FMA community,” Zubiri said. (JKV)