AUGUST 21, 1983: A LOOK BACK AT NINOY AQUINO'S MURDER   

It has been 31 years since that sunny day in 1983 when Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was
murdered with a single bullet to the head. The exiled ex-senator was about to get off China Airlines Flight 811 (CAL flight 811) after it touched down at the Manila International Airport now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. In August 20, 1983 hours before his flight, Ninoy was interviewed by the press. When asked about the supposed Marcos plot to kill him, he said, “Assassination is part of public service… I can’t allow myself to be petrified by the fear of assassination and spend my life in a corner.”  Thus were the words spoken by Ninoy as if accepting the fact that the next time he would be touching Philippine soil would be his last. In remembrance of Ninoy Aquino’s sacrifice for democracy, Philstar.com has collected lesser-known information pertaining to the murder of Aquino. While most are facts, some data listed are still disputed and are still in the process of investigation. *CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: ABOUT BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO, JR. Filipino Hero and Martyr

Corazon "Cory" Aquino (1933-2009) was the 11th president of the Philippines and married to Benigno S. "Ninoy" Aquino (1932-1983), former senator and opposition leader. "THE AQUINO FOUNDATION HAS PUT TOGETHER THE CAMPAIGN WITH THE TAGLINE 'I AM A HERO, I DO WHAT I BELIEVE IS RIGHT, I DO WHAT I BELIEVE IS GOOD, I FIGHT FOR JUSTICE, I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. I AM NINOY' "

• Served as Mayor, Vice-Governor, Governor, (Tarlac)
• Senator of the Philippines (1967—1972)
• Served as Special Assistant to the following Presidents: Pres.R. Magsaysay, Pres.
C. Garcia, and Pres. D. Macapagal

• Journalist, Outstanding Senator, and multi-awarded civic, government leader, and
freedom fighter.

Date of Birth: November 27, 1932 (Concepcion, Tarlac, Philippines)
Died: August 21, 1983
Assassinated upon his arrival at the airport.

BIRTH & HERITAGE
1932, Nov. 27—born to Benigno S. Aquino, Sr., nationalist, speaker and later
Senator of the Philippines, and Aurora A. Aquino, in Concepcion Town, Tarlac
province. His paternal grandfather was General Servillano Aquino, famed
revolutionary, who fought first the Spanish and then the Americans at the turn of
the century.

EDUCATION
• San Beda High School, 1948
• Ateneo de Manila College of Liberal Arts (Pre-Law), 1950
• University of the Philippines, College of Law (4th Year)
• Harvard University Center for International Law—Fellow
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies —Fellow * READ MORE...

ALSO: Recall Ninoy Aquino with service, people urged  

Supporters of slain opposition leader Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. gathered Sunday morning on the spot he was shot dead 30 years ago and called on the public to give 30 minutes of their time every week to help those in need. “We are asking the people remembering Ninoy to allot 30 minutes of their time in a week for community service,” said Cecile Guidote-Alvarez of the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM), which was among the organizers of the event.

The commemoration of Ninoy Aquino’s martyrdom was held on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport—since renamed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport—where Aquino was shot dead minutes after returning from three years of exile in the United States. Guidote-Alvarez said the “30-minute community service” should be done throughout the year by those who look up to Ninoy, the father of President Benigno S. Aquino.* CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Ninoy Aquino’s 7 acts of defiance  

Six acts of defiance, one of which ended in the death of a man, sparked a seventh, which started the rebirth of a democracy. In 1972, when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos contemptuously padlocked Congress and the media, placed the entire country under martial rule and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and journalists, it would have been most expedient for Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. to simply collaborate with the dictator. First act --Marcos was just waiting for that. But Ninoy, the most prominent among the arrested oppositionists, flatly refused. So Marcos ordered him tried on false charges of rebellion, murder and illegal possession of firearms by a military commission, under the rules and procedures that govern court-martial proceedings for officers and soldiers. That started Ninoy’s defiance of Marcos and a war of attrition between the tormentor and the tormented. It was a battle of wills all the way. In his first act of defiance, Ninoy challenged the jurisdiction and independence of Military Commission No. 2, composed of generals and colonels appointed by Marcos.

The strongman had already prejudged him guilty as charged, and the military commission took his cue. Ninoy argued that the Articles of War that governed the proceedings of the military commission were designed only for men in uniform and not for civilians like himself when civil courts were functioning. And so he refused to participate in the trials. Convict me if you must, he told the commission, but I will not dignify your illegal trials with my participation.
Military Commission No. 2 responded by having Ninoy dragged from his prison cell where he was held in solitary confinement to the gymnasium in Fort Bonifacio, the venue of his trial. Second act --Ninoy staged his second act of defiance by going on a hunger strike. On May 13, 1975, the 40th day of his protest fast, Ninoy’s condition became critical. But Marcos would not have the blood of a political martyr on his hands, and Ninoy was forcibly rushed to V. Luna General Hospital to be medically revived. Marcos knew that anointing Ninoy a hero would be sheer folly. History would later prove him right. Military Commission No. 2 resumed its proceedings after Ninoy regained his health.*CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Undelivered speech of Senator Benigno (Ninoy) S. Aquino Jr. 

PHOTO: Former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. looks pensive shortly after being sentenced to death by musketry by a military tribunal in 1977 (left), and on his flight home from the United States on Aug. 21, 1983 (right), moments before being shot dead (center) on the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport. Inquirer Photos --(Upon his return from the United States of America on Aug. 21, 1983)

I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence. I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice. I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors. A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts. I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis. I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.

According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man. Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop. Rather than move forward, we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated. During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for Habeas Corpus. It is most ironic, after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can no longer entertain petitions for Habeas Corpus for persons detained under a Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything. The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored. The Filipino asks for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 Constitution—the most sacred legacies from the Founding Fathers. *CONTINUE READING...

ALSO Inquirer Editorial: A lesson for the son  

Ninoy Aquino had been warned. The most dramatic warning about the threats to his life came from the dictatorship’s resident drama queen, the Imeldific first lady herself. Imelda Marcos was still in peak form, indulging her self-perception as the Marcos regime’s most effective diplomat. But she failed. Against the advice of almost everyone he consulted, the opposition senator still decided to return home from three years’ exile in the United States. Upon arrival 31 years ago today, however, he met the fate he had repeatedly been warned against; he was killed in the airport that now bears his name.

Was he foolhardy? It can be difficult to distinguish recklessness from courage, but not in Aquino’s case. He had carefully prepared for his homecoming, mustering support among other Filipinos forced by the declaration of martial law to seek exile in the United States; conducting in-depth research not only on such Philippine problems as festering as poverty and insurgency but also into alternative forms of resistance like Gandhian nonviolence; arguing against US government support for the Marcos regime in congressional hall and seminar room and, not least, crafting a circuitous return journey to foil the dictatorship’s increasingly desperate plan to stop him from boarding the fatal flight home.

There was nothing reckless about his return. It was a dangerous enterprise, but Aquino both recognized the danger and welcomed it. As he wrote in the arrival statement which he did not have a chance to read to the throng of people waiting for him at the airport: “Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my immediate execution or set me free.” The dictatorship did execute him, extrajudicially. It was the beginning of the regime’s end. But in Aquino’s own sudden end (at the age of only 50), we can find traces of the beginning he had to make all over again, starting on the day of his arrest. * CONTINUE READING...


READ FULL REPORT HERE:

A look back at Ninoy Aquino’s murder


Thirty-one years have passed since Ninoy Aquino perished at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport. Speculations and updates about his killing have come and go and the masterminds behind the killing may never be known. Commemoration, on the other hand, is enough for people to take a look back and be re-informed on who Ninoy was and why he took a bullet for the country.

MANILA, AUGUST 25, 2014 (PHILSTAR) By Elyas Salanga - It has been 31 years since that sunny day in 1983 when Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was murdered with a single bullet to the head. The exiled ex-senator was about to get off China Airlines Flight 811 (CAL flight 811) after it touched down at the Manila International Airport now called the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

In August 20, 1983 hours before his flight, Ninoy was interviewed by the press. When asked about the supposed Marcos plot to kill him, he said, “Assassination is part of public service… I can’t allow myself to be petrified by the fear of assassination and spend my life in a corner.”

Thus were the words spoken by Ninoy as if accepting the fact that the next time he would be touching Philippine soil would be his last.

In remembrance of Ninoy Aquino’s sacrifice for democracy, Philstar.com has collected lesser-known information pertaining to the murder of Aquino. While most are facts, some data listed are still disputed and are still in the process of investigation.

* THE FAKE PASSPORT. Ninoy actually had two passports—one was fake and it contained his real name, and other one was a real passport containing the pseudonym “Marcial Bonifacio.” “Marcial” was for martial law and “Bonifacio” is the name of the place where he was imprisoned.

WELCOME COMMITTEE. About 20,000 of Ninoy’s supporters flocked at the Manila International Airport. Marcos, on the other hand, sent in over 1,000 armed to provide security for Aquino’s arrival. Called “Oplan Balikbayan,” its aim was to secure MIA once Ninoy’s plane landed.

THE “5 MONKEYS.” Aquino’s security group was composed of five men: Technical Sgt. Claro Lat, Corporal Rogelio Moreno, Sgt. Arnulfo de Mesa, Corporal Lazaga, and Lieutenant Castro. They were the officers who were supposed to escort Ninoy from the plane to Fort Bonifacio, where he would be detained. Eleven seconds had elapsed from the moment Ninoy stepped out of the airplane door to the sound of the first gunshot (at 01:15 p.m.). As Ninoy and the 5 men walked out of the door, numerous voices were heard as saying, “Ako na! Ako na! Ako na!” and “Pusila!” (Pusila, in a southern Filipino dialect is an order to shoot). The voices reportedly came from Ninoy’s security team, which they later denied.

Cpl. Moreno, who walked a few feet behind Aquino as he descended the stairs, was later convicted as the person who shot Ninoy. This group would later be called the “The 5 Wise Monkeys” because in the investigation, they “Saw nothing, heard nothing, said nothing.”

POINT-BLANK. A .357 Magnum was allegedly used to murder Ninoy Aquino. He was shot at a distance of about 18 inches. The bullet entered Ninoy’s nape and exited his chin. Investigations later showed that the shooter was directly a few feet above Ninoy and not level as was earlier suggested.

Reportedly, there were two .357 with the same serial numbers. Interestingly, one was owned by Col. Octavio Alvarez, the former chief of the Metrocom Intelligence Group—it was reportedly stolen from him.

“ROLLY.” The man who supposedly shot Ninoy had the word “Rolly” embroidered on the waistband of his underpants and an “R” engraved inside his gold wedding ring. Nine days after the assassination, “Rolly” was finally revealed to be Rolando Galman. He was officially described as a “notorious killer and gun for hire.”

It was later reported that Galman had been supposedly taken from his home four days before Aquino’s murder. Two days after Aquino’s murder, Galman’s common-law wife Lina was taken by several armed men. She was never heard of again.

REVELATIONS. Roberto Olaguer, a chaplain who visited the inmates at the New Bilibid Prison would later reveal details about what he learned from Sgt. Pablo Martinez, one of the men convicted of Ninoy’s murder. Martinez reportedly was recruited by Col. Romeo Ochoco, then deputy head of AVSECOM (Aviation Security Command). Martinez was introduced to Rolando Galman and was told to make sure Galman kills Ninoy, otherwise, kill Ninoy and shoot Galman as well. Since Martinez had access to the airport, it was easy for him to smuggle Galman into the tarmac.

Sgt. Martinez would later implicate Ninoy’s cousin-in-law Danding Cojuangco, but it was never proven.

Martinez was later killed in a hit-and-run incident this year. He was hit by an SUV.

FROM THE INQUIRER

BENIGNO SIMEON AQUINO, JR. Filipino Hero and Martyr 5:11 pm | Wednesday, August 20th, 2008


Corazon "Cory" Aquino (1933-2009) was the 11th president of the Philippines and married to Benigno S. "Ninoy" Aquino (1932-1983), former senator and opposition leader. "THE AQUINO FOUNDATION HAS PUT TOGETHER THE CAMPAIGN WITH THE TAGLINE 'I AM A HERO, I DO WHAT I BELIEVE IS RIGHT, I DO WHAT I BELIEVE IS GOOD, I FIGHT FOR JUSTICE, I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM. I AM NINOY' "

• Served as Mayor, Vice-Governor, Governor, (Tarlac)
• Senator of the Philippines (1967—1972)
• Served as Special Assistant to the following Presidents: Pres.R. Magsaysay, Pres.
C. Garcia, and Pres. D. Macapagal

• Journalist, Outstanding Senator, and multi-awarded civic, government leader, and
freedom fighter.

Date of Birth: November 27, 1932 (Concepcion, Tarlac, Philippines)
Died: August 21, 1983
Assassinated upon his arrival at the airport.

BIRTH & HERITAGE
1932, Nov. 27—born to Benigno S. Aquino, Sr., nationalist, speaker and later
Senator of the Philippines, and Aurora A. Aquino, in Concepcion Town, Tarlac
province. His paternal grandfather was General Servillano Aquino, famed
revolutionary, who fought first the Spanish and then the Americans at the turn of
the century.

EDUCATION
• San Beda High School, 1948
• Ateneo de Manila College of Liberal Arts (Pre-Law), 1950
• University of the Philippines, College of Law (4th Year)
• Harvard University Center for International Law—Fellow
• Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies —Fellow

* EARLY JOURNALISM YEARS
1950—Reporter for the Manila Times Newspaper at the age of 17 and assigned as
the Manila Times war correspondent in Korea.

1952—Foreign Corespondent, Manila Times in Southeast Asia. Assigned to Indo-
China, covered the last moments of French colonialism in Asia, at Dien Bien Phu.
Later posted to Malaya to cover the British counter-insurgency efforts under Gen.
Templar.
-Journalism remained his particular vocation inspite of his entry into politics, and
from time to time he wrote “perspective articles” for such publications as ‘Foreign
Affairs Quarterly’ and the ‘Pacific Community.’

1952 —Still with the journalist’s bent, he agreed, while already Senator, to conduct
a weekly television news analysis show, titled “Insight” for Channel 5, upon the
urging of his former publisher of the Manila Times, Mr. Chino Roces. He kept this
up until his arrest in 1972 by the people responsible for the Martial Law regime.

GOVERNMENT SERVICE
1954—Special Assistant to President Ramon Magsaysay
Negotiated the surrender of Huk Supremo Luis Taruc.
(May 16, 1954)

1955—Elected as youngest mayor (22 years old) of Concepcion, Tarlac, his
hometown.
1956—Press Officer, Philippine—American Military Bases Agreement
negotiations.

1957—Special Assistant to President Carlos P. Garcia.

1959—Elected as youngest Vice-Governor of Tarlac Province, (26 years old).
Elected Secretary-General of the League of Provincial Governors and City Mayors.

1961—Became governor in 1961 after the Governor’s resignation.

1963—Elected Governor (age 31) of Tarlac province, winning in all 17 towns
of the province, posting the highest majority ever garnered by a gubernatorial
candidate in the province. Dubbed as the “Wonder Boy of Philippine Politics.”

1964-Philippine Delegate, Eastern Regional Organization for Public
Administration (EROPA) Conference held in Korea.

1965—Special Assistant to President Diosdado Macapagal. Accompanied Pres.
Macapagal in State visits to Cambodia and Indonesia, Spokesperson, Philippine
Delegation, Afro-Asian conference in Algiers, Africa.

1966—Project Director, Tarlac “Project Spread” A joint undertaking of the
National Economic Council (Philippine government ) and the U.S.A.I.D., designed
to increase rural income.

1967—Elected as the youngest Senator of the Philippines, (35 years old) the lone
opposition Liberal Party candidate to survive the election sweep made by Pres.
Marcos’ Nacionalista Party. Elected Secretary-General of the Liberal Party.

1968—(author of several speeches, and many articles while serving as a public
servant) contained in the book “A Garrison State in the Make and other Speeches”
by Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr. (BSAF Publication) Senator Aquino also
authored/co-authored several bills filed and approved in Congress to benefit the
masses. Authored several privilege speeches printed in the “Ninoy Aquino—
Speech Series,” 1968-1970’s.

1970—Resource Person for the Philippines, International Institute of Strategic
Studies, London.

1971—Member, Philippine Delegation, Asian Conference on the Cambodian
Question, Jakarta, Indonesia.

1972—Philippine Delegate, International Conference on Japan and the Evolving
World, sponsored by the International Institute for Strategic Studies of London, at
Mount Fuji, Japan,

July 4th guest speaker of Filipino communities in Honolulu, Los Angeles and San
Francisco, U.S.A.

MAJOR AWARDS
1950—Philippine Legion of Honor, Officer Degree, awarded by President Elpidio
Quirino for “Meritorious Service” to the Philippines for his coverage of the
Philippine Expeditionary Force to the Korean War.

1954—Philippine Legion of Honor, Commander Degree awarded by President
Ramon Magsaysay for “exemplary meritorious service” to the Filipino people in
negotiating the coverage of Huk Supremo Luis Taruc.

1957—First Bronze Anahaw Leaf, Philippine Legion of Honor, conferred by
President Magsaysay, for services in the peace and order campaign.

1960—Voted one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Philippines (TOYM)
in the field of public service.

1963—Voted one of the Twenty Four Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines.

1968—1971: Outstanding Senator, voted yearly by the Philippines Free Press, the
Philippines’ leading political weekly magazine.

1971—Man of the Year, voted by the Philippines Free Press, citing him for the
leadership he showed when his party’s leadership was bombed in Plaza Miranda,
the Philippines’ equivalent to Hyde Park. He led his Party’s campaign “with
courage, with distinction” despite threats to arrest him, made by President Marcos.
He led his Party (Liberal party) to a 6-2 victory in the Philippine Senate elections
that November, which catapulted him to become the No. 1 presidential contender
in the 1973 elections.

Sen. Ninoy Aquino received several awards of distinctions, certificates of
appreciation, resolutions (Ninoy Aquino Day), given both here and abroad.
He consistently fought for the restoration of freedom and democracy through
nonviolent means. He was called a man of peace and worked for “A Free society
reconciling liberty and equality…”

September 22, 1972—Arrested and detained by the Martial Law regime.
Imprisoned in Fort Bonifacio and in Laur, Nueva Ecija for 7 years and 7 months,
mostly in solitary confinement. While in prison, went on a protest hunger strike
on April 4, 1975 up to May 13, 1975.

Ninoy had the opportunity to be free in exchange for his fight for freedom and
democracy but repeatedly declined the offer and would rather die for his principles
than surrender. Ninoy defended himself with his “closing statement” before the
Military Commission No. 2, (he worked on this closing statement from 1975 and
finished it in 1977) Details published in the book “Testament From a Prison Cell”
by Ninoy Aquino, (A BSAF publication)

May 8, 1980—Released from Fort Bonifacio to undergo a triple heart bypass at
Baylor Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

May 13, 1980—Operated and successfully given a triple bypass, in Dallas, Texas.
1980—1982: Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs.

1982 -1983: Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for
International Studies.

August 21, 1983-Assassinated at the airport seconds after disembarking a China
Airlines plane from Taipei.

Ninoy’s brutal assassination outraged the Filipinos and shocked the world.
The media featured him on the covers of Newsweek International Magazines,
Asiaweek, and Time. It also landed the front pages of the major dailies in New
York and many other cities and appeared in publications circulated worldwide.

August 31, 1983—Ninoy’s funeral march from Sto. Domingo Church, Quezon
City to Manila Memorial Park, Parañaque, was the “longest funeral march in world
history”. Around two million people joined the funeral.

NINOY’S FAMILY BACKGROUND
His brothers and sisters:
Benigno Sr. and Maria Urquico Union
Antonio (deceased)
Servillano (deceased)
Mila Aquino-Albert
Linda Aquino-Martinez
(two years after the death of Maria Urquico, Benigno Aquino Sr. re-married in
1930.)
His brothers and sisters:
Benigno and Aurora A. Aquino Union
Maur Aquino-Lichauco
Ditas Aquino-Valdes
Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara
Agapito (Butz) Aquino
Paul Aquino
Tessie Aquino-Oreta

Ninoy Aquino married Corazon Cojuangco on October 11, 1954
Their five children are: Maria Elena, (Ballsy) now Mrs. Eldon Cruz, Aurora
Corazon, (Pinky) now Mrs. Manuel Abellada, Benigno III (Noynoy), Victoria Elisa,
(Viel) now Mrs. Richard Joseph Dee, and Kristina Bernadette (Kris)
Sourced from the book,
“Ninoy: Ideals & Ideologies” (pp.138-139) published by Ninoy & Cory Aquino
Foundation in 1993.

Recall Ninoy Aquino with service, people urged By Niña P. Calleja |Philippine Daily Inquirer6:01 am | Monday, August 26th, 2013


FROM "GUHIT @ LIKHA

MANILA, Philippines—Supporters of slain opposition leader Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. gathered Sunday morning on the spot he was shot dead 30 years ago and called on the public to give 30 minutes of their time every week to help those in need.

“We are asking the people remembering Ninoy to allot 30 minutes of their time in a week for community service,” said Cecile Guidote-Alvarez of the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM), which was among the organizers of the event.

The commemoration of Ninoy Aquino’s martyrdom was held on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport—since renamed the Ninoy Aquino International Airport—where Aquino was shot dead minutes after returning from three years of exile in the United States.

Guidote-Alvarez said the “30-minute community service” should be done throughout the year by those who look up to Ninoy, the father of President Benigno S. Aquino.

* Alvarez noted that many Filipinos were currently suffering due to the recent floods caused by the monsoon rains and Tropical Depression “Maring.”

People clad in yellow came to the event, which was supposed to be held on Aug. 21, the day of the assassination, but was moved to Aug. 25 due to the bad weather.

The program opened with a traditional offering of flowers at the departure curve of the Naia and was followed by the awarding of the Ninoy Aquino Medal of Valor to freedom fighters, human rights lawyers, the press, and international personalities and groups who played major roles during the 1986 EDSA revolution.

Swiss Ambassador Ivo Siebar who helped in the asset recovery and repatriation of the stolen assets of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos was among those present to receive his medal.

Also in attendance were former Sen. Rene Saguisag, human rights lawyer Rod Domingo, head of the Commission on Human Rights Loretta Rosales, NAM president Raul Daza and chair Heherson Alvarez.

Aquino’s nephew, Roberto “Bobby” Aquino, son of former Sen. Butz Aquino, delivered a speech addressed to his 12-year-old son, Eiyo, on why the date Aug. 21 was so important.

“There were quite a number of us that day and we tried to make it festive for your Lolo Ninoy’s arrival. We wore white shirts with your Lolo Ninoy’s face in front. We had ‘Welcome’ banners made of katsa. Yellow ribbons were hung, from the song ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon.’”

“Benigno Servillano Aquino Jr. was not able to see the thousands of yellow ribbons that were tied not only around trees but also around lampposts and railings. By whom? By the people you see today,” he said.

He said the “indomitable spirit” of Aquino drove him to defy the pleas of his family to stay away from the Philippines and remain alive. Ninoy Aquino had said, “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

“The bullet shot on Aug. 21 actually called us together. It was a time when we all saw and felt renewed nationalism, patriotic involvement, bold courage and uncompromising vigilance… Look at their faces around you, Eiyo, and see the values that you and your generation must embrace.

These are the Filipinos worth dying for,” Bobby Aquino said in his speech.

Ninoy Aquino’s assassination set off street protests that culminated in a People Power revolt that ousted Marcos in 1986 and swept his widow, Corazon Aquino, in to office.

Ninoy Aquino’s 7 acts of defiance By Joker P. Arroyo |Philippine Daily Inquirer1:40 am | Thursday, August 21st, 2014


DEFENSE LAWYERS Soc Rodrigo, Joker Arroyo and Lorenzo Tañada Sr. support Ninoy Aquino in his defiant stand against Marcos. EDGARDO SANTIAGO

Six acts of defiance, one of which ended in the death of a man, sparked a seventh, which started the rebirth of a democracy.

In 1972, when the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos contemptuously padlocked Congress and the media, placed the entire country under martial rule and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and journalists, it would have been most expedient for Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. to simply collaborate with the dictator.

First act
Marcos was just waiting for that. But Ninoy, the most prominent among the arrested oppositionists, flatly refused. So Marcos ordered him tried on false charges of rebellion, murder and illegal possession of firearms by a military commission, under the rules and procedures that govern court-martial proceedings for officers and soldiers.

That started Ninoy’s defiance of Marcos and a war of attrition between the tormentor and the tormented. It was a battle of wills all the way.

In his first act of defiance, Ninoy challenged the jurisdiction and independence of Military Commission No. 2, composed of generals and colonels appointed by Marcos.

The strongman had already prejudged him guilty as charged, and the military commission took his cue.

Ninoy argued that the Articles of War that governed the proceedings of the military commission were designed only for men in uniform and not for civilians like himself when civil courts were functioning.

And so he refused to participate in the trials. Convict me if you must, he told the commission, but I will not dignify your illegal trials with my participation.

Military Commission No. 2 responded by having Ninoy dragged from his prison cell where he was held in solitary confinement to the gymnasium in Fort Bonifacio, the venue of his trial.

Second act

Ninoy staged his second act of defiance by going on a hunger strike. On May 13, 1975, the 40th day of his protest fast, Ninoy’s condition became critical.

But Marcos would not have the blood of a political martyr on his hands, and Ninoy was forcibly rushed to V. Luna General Hospital to be medically revived. Marcos knew that anointing Ninoy a hero would be sheer folly. History would later prove him right.

Military Commission No. 2 resumed its proceedings after Ninoy regained his health.

* Third act

In his third act of defiance, Ninoy challenged the individual competence and impartiality of each and every member of the commission.

On Nov. 25, 1977, two days before Ninoy’s birthday, the commission, in a supreme act of sadism, sentenced him to die by musketry. But the international outcry that followed prevented Marcos from confirming the death order.

Fourth act

Ninoy made his fourth act of defiance in 1978, when Marcos allowed the election of the members of the Interim Batasan Pambansa. Ninoy filed a certificate of candidacy to lead the opposition group Laban, launching his campaign from solitary confinement.

The unprecedented success of a noise barrage on the eve of the elections forced Marcos to proclaim all his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan candidates winners with only 25 percent of the votes canvassed.

In 1980, Ninoy was afflicted with a heart problem while in the stockade. Believing that he would be rid of his most potent rival, Marcos allowed Ninoy to go to the United States for a heart bypass. After his operation, Ninoy energetically barnstormed the United States and other countries to denounce the Marcos regime.

Fifth, sixth acts

But by 1983, Ninoy felt he had to go home. He felt that as the acknowledged leader of the opposition, his place was in the Philippines.

In his fifth act of defiance, Ninoy came home. He paid for the act with his own life. Filipinos responded by showing up by the millions at his wake and funeral.

In 1985, or two years after Ninoy’s death, Marcos called a snap presidential election, and Ninoy’s widow took up what could be called his sixth act of defiance. She took up the challenge against Marcos.

Final act

Marcos cheated, as he did in the 1978 elections. The people responded resoundingly and trooped to Edsa, in a final, seventh act of defiance that jolted the world.

Ninoy’s sacrifice on Aug. 21, 1983, served as a whiplash on the national conscience. His assassination unleashed a torrent of pent-up resentment against the dictatorship that led the country to penury, perdition and ruin.

The shock of Aug. 21 turned to hurt, outrage and quiet courage, and led the nation to new hopes two and a half years later. (Reprinted from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aug. 20, 2000)

Undelivered speech of Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. INQUIRER.net9:46 am | Thursday, August 21st, 2014


Former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. looks pensive shortly after being sentenced to death by musketry by a military tribunal in 1977 (left), and on his flight home from the United States on Aug. 21, 1983 (right), moments before being shot dead (center) on the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport. Inquirer Photos

(Upon his return from the United States of America on Aug. 21, 1983)

I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through nonviolence.

I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.

I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors.

A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.

I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis.

I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.

According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop.

Rather than move forward, we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated.

During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for Habeas Corpus. It is most ironic, after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can no longer entertain petitions for Habeas Corpus for persons detained under a Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything.

The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.

The Filipino asks for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 Constitution—the most sacred legacies from the Founding Fathers.

* Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?

The nation-wide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a bloody revolution. There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought forth our Republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?

I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.

So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:
1. Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my IMMEDIATE EXECUTION OR SET ME FREE.
I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.

2. National reconciliation and unity can be achieved but only with justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can be no deal with a Dictator. No compromise with Dictatorship.

3. In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.

4. Subversion stems from economic, social and political causes and will not be solved by purely military solutions; it can be curbed not with ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of wealth, more democracy and more freedom, and

5. For the economy to get going once again, the workingman must be given his just and rightful share of his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the hope where there is so much uncertainty if not despair.

On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:
“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”

I return from exile and to an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer—faith in our people and faith in God.

Talumpating hindi nabigkas ni Senador Benigno S. Aquino Jr.:
(Noong siya ay bumalik mula sa Amerika )
[Ika-21 ng Agosto 1983]

Kusa akong nagbalik upang makisama sa mga hanay ng mga nakikipaglaban para sa pagbabalik ng ating mga karapatan at kalayaan sa mapayapang pamamaraan.

Hindi ko hangad ang sagupaan. Idinadalangin ko’t aking sisikaping magkaroon ng tunay na pambansang pagkakasundo batay sa katarungan. Handa ako sa ano mang masamang maaaring mangyari. Nagpasya ako labag sa payo ng aking ina, ng aking tagpayong espirituwal, ng aking mga kaibigan, at ng ilang tagapayo sa politika. May naghihintay sa aking hatol na kamatayan, dalawang kasong subversion na ang pawang hiling ay ang aking kamatayan na hanggang ngayon ay nakabinbin pa rin sa mga korte.

Maaari sanang ako’y humingi ng political asylum sa Amerika ngunit nadarama kong tungkulin ko na siya ring tungkulin ng bawat Pilipino na makiramay sa kanyang mga kababayan lalo na sa panahon ng krisis.

Kusa akong nagbalik na ang tanging sandata ay ang aking malinis na konsensiya at nagkukuta sa pananalig na sa dakong huli’y ang katarunga’y gigitaw nang buong tagumpay.

Nang ako ay umalis upang ipailalim sa bypass operation sa puso, ako’y umasa at nanalanging sana’y ibalik ang mga kalayaan at karapatan ng ating mga kababayan na ang pamumuhay ay umunlad at ang pagdanak ng dugo ay matigil.

Ngunit sa halip na tayo’y sumulong tayo’y dumausdos nang paurong. Dumami ang pagpatay, ang ekonomiya ang lalong sumama at lumubha ang karapatang pantao. Ang malalang kalagayan ng bansa ay ating malulunasan kung tayo’y nagkakaisa. Ngunit tayo’y magkakaisa lamang kung maibabalik ang lahat ng karapatan at kalayaang tinatamasa natin bago ang ikadalawampu’t isa ng Setyembre, 1971.

Tunay na matiisin ang Pilipino ngunit may hangganan ang kanyang pagtitimpi. Hihintayin pa ba nating maubos ang pagtitimping ito?

Ang laganap na paghihimagsik ay lumalala at nagbabantang sumabog sa isang madugong rebolusyon. Dumarami ang mga kadre ng kabataang Pilipino na sa ngayo’y naniniwalang ang kalayaan ay hindi ibinibigay kundi kailangan ito’y agawin. Kailangan pa bang tayo’y magbuhos ng dugo tulad noong nakaraan na naging kabayaran ang ating Republika o maaari ba tayong umupo at mag-usap bilang magkakapatid upang ayusin ang ating hindi pagkakasunduan sa tulong ng katwiran at magandang kalooban.

Madalas kong isipin, alin kayang mga sigalot ang naisasaayos sana nang mahusay kung ang mga nagtutunggali ay naglalahad lamang ng kanilang malinaw na mga kagustuhan. Kaya upang di mabigyang puwang ang di pagkakaunawaan, aking ilalahad ang aking mga hangad na mangyari.

Una, iniutos ang pagbitay sa akin noong ako’y palayain kaagad. Ako’y hinatulang mamatay sapagkat ako raw ay isang puno ng mga komunista. Hindi ako isang Komunista, hindi ako kailanman naging komunista at kailanman ay hindi ako magiging komunista.

Ikalawa, ang pamabansang pagkakasundo’t pagkakaisa ay makakamit ngunit sa tulong lamang ng katarungan. Kasama na ang katarungan para sa ating mga kapatid na Muslim at Ifugao. Walang pakikitungo sa isang diktador, walang pakikipagsundo sa diktadurya.

Ikatlo, sa isang rebolusyon ay walang nagtatagumpay. Mayroon lamang mga biktima, hindi natin kailangan magwasak upang makatayo tayong muli.

Ikaapat, ang paglaban sa pamahalaan o subversion ay nag-uugat sa mga dahilang pang-ekonomiko, pangkabuhayan at pampolitika at hindi ito malulunasan ng mga hakbang militar. Ito’y masasagkaan hindi ng higit na paghihigpit kundi ng higit na patas na pamamahagi ng kabuhayan. Higit na demokrasya at higit na kalayaan.

Ikalima, upang mapaunlad ang ekonomiya, ang mga manggagawa ay dapat na pagkalooban ng kanilang makatarungan at tamang bahagi ng kanilang pinagpaguran sa pasilyo sa Harvard University ay nakaukit sa marmol ang mga salita ng makatang si Archibald Macleish, ang sabi ni Macleish, “Paano ipagtatanggol ang kalayaan sa tulong ng sandata kapag ito’y sinasalakay ng sandata, sa tulong ng katotohanan kapag ito ay nilalapastangan ng kasinungalingan, ng tiwala sa demokrasya kung ito ay binabayo ng prinsipyong mapaniil, lagi at hanggang sa huli, sa tulong ng matatag na paninindigan.”

Ako’y magbabalik mula sa pagkatapon sa ibang bansa at sa walang katiyakang bukas taglay lamang ang tanging tibay ng loob at pananalig sa Pilipino at pananalig sa lumikha.

A lesson for the son  Philippine Daily Inquirer12:24 am | Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Ninoy Aquino had been warned. The most dramatic warning about the threats to his life came from the dictatorship’s resident drama queen, the Imeldific first lady herself. Imelda Marcos was still in peak form, indulging her self-perception as the Marcos regime’s most effective diplomat. But she failed.

Against the advice of almost everyone he consulted, the opposition senator still decided to return home from three years’ exile in the United States. Upon arrival 31 years ago today, however, he met the fate he had repeatedly been warned against; he was killed in the airport that now bears his name.

Was he foolhardy? It can be difficult to distinguish recklessness from courage, but not in Aquino’s case. He had carefully prepared for his homecoming, mustering support among other Filipinos forced by the declaration of martial law to seek exile in the United States; conducting in-depth research not only on such Philippine problems as festering as poverty and insurgency but also into alternative forms of resistance like Gandhian nonviolence; arguing against US government support for the Marcos regime in congressional hall and seminar room and, not least, crafting a circuitous return journey to foil the dictatorship’s increasingly desperate plan to stop him from boarding the fatal flight home.

There was nothing reckless about his return. It was a dangerous enterprise, but Aquino both recognized the danger and welcomed it. As he wrote in the arrival statement which he did not have a chance to read to the throng of people waiting for him at the airport: “Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a Military Tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my immediate execution or set me free.”

The dictatorship did execute him, extrajudicially. It was the beginning of the regime’s end. But in Aquino’s own sudden end (at the age of only 50), we can find traces of the beginning he had to make all over again, starting on the day of his arrest.

* Aquino ran for national office only once, in 1967; he did not top the Senate elections then (he came in second), but he did achieve a rare feat. He was the only Liberal in a tidal wave of Nacionalista winners; he quickly became the face of the opposition, and was often thought of as one of Marcos’ likely successors. He was young and flamboyant, and enjoyed the trappings of power (starting with his Tarlac bailiwick) and of wealth (he had married into the Cojuangcos). He cut quite a profile.

When martial rule was imposed, he was among the very first to be arrested. It was during his seven years in prison, including a long spell in solitary confinement, that Aquino’s deepest values, his commitment to freedom and sense of country, were severely tested. He could have easily avoided further suffering by cutting a deal with Marcos, who belonged to the same influential fraternity from the University of the Philippines.

Instead, he embraced his lot and refused to compromise. The seven years in prison purged him of his worldly ambitions; when he was rushed out of the country for emergency open-heart surgery in 1980, he was already a changed man.

It bears emphasizing: Aquino could have chosen to continue his political career even under martial rule; there were examples to follow, such as that of his own father and the great nationalist Claro M. Recto, who both served in the so-called puppet republic under the Japanese during World War II. Instead, he chose the much harder path, enduring the pain of imprisonment.

Was he reckless? The truth is he had found his true calling: The man who delighted in calling himself a public servant found, in the depths of detention, the true meaning of service. It meant doing away with self-interest; it meant (we can read for ourselves in some of his poignant letters from prison) putting country above self.

His son who now occupies the presidency inherited his capacity to willingly enter the fray. President Aquino has never been shy about fighting the fights he wants to fight, from forcing an Armed Forces chief of staff to resign to impeaching a chief justice.

But the father’s courage served a purpose beyond self-interest. The son’s must not be used for such an unseemly purpose as term extension.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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