MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2011 (STAR) (PHOTO - The Ninoy Aquino monument along Ayala Avenue corner Paseo de Roxas in Makati City reminds Filipinos of his martyrdom 28 years ago. EDD GUMBAN)

 | Zoom MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino and his siblings will commemorate with a private Mass today the 28th death anniversary of their father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., who was assassinated upon returning from exile in the United States.

The President will also open an exhibit dubbed “Ninoy, My Hero” at the SM Megamall Atrium.

In a statement, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda called on the public to remember Ninoy’s sacrifice for the country.

“May the Filipino people never forget him and the many others who fought for the restoration of our democracy, and may future generations continue to hold dear the example Ninoy Aquino set for us through his life, his struggles and his sacrifice,” Lacierda said.

Aquino’s death in 1983 sparked massive protests against the Marcos dictatorship that culminated three years later in the popular uprising known worldwide as the People Power Revolution of 1986.

Former senator Agapito "Butz" Aquino, second from left,
releases a dove beside a state of his brother,
the late senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. ,
as Filipinos commemorate his death anniversary
in suburban Manila, Philippines on Sunday Aug. 21, 2011.

Sen. Joker Arroyo said the memories of Ninoy’s assassination are “simultaneously inspiring and unsettling” because the masterminds of his murder were never brought to justice.

“We cannot help but be painfully reminded as well of how the wheels of justice for Ninoy had turned from irony to travesty to caricature where the lowly and hapless soldiers were convicted for Ninoy’s murder, while the masterminds were never charged,” he said.

There were calls in the past to reopen the case but the Aquino family rejected these. The soldiers convicted of murder served their time in prison, some of them dying in detention.

The weather bureau, meanwhile, advised those who have scheduled outdoor activities commemorating Ninoy’s death anniversary to be prepared for rain showers.

Weather forecaster Glaiza Escollar of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the intertropical convergence zone is expected to bring rain showers and thunderstorms to the whole country in the afternoon and evening.

Light to moderate winds blowing from the northeast to southeast are to prevail over Luzon, and coming from the southwest to west over the Visayas and Mindanao.

Coastal waters throughout the country, meanwhile, will be slight to moderate. - Aurea Calica, Marvin Sy, Evelyn Macairan

Ninoy's letter to son in book launched at NAIA tarmac today By Juaniyo Y. Arcellana (The Philippine Star) Updated August 21, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (16)

(Photo shows the cover of the book ‘Ninoy: Mga Tula, Liham at Talumpati,’ a compilation of the late senator Benigno Aquino Jr.’s poems, letters and speeches.)

Benigno Aquino Jr.’s letter to his son is included in a book of the late senator’s poems, letters and speeches that will be launched today at the tarmac of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), site of his martyrdom 28 years ago.

“Ninoy: Mga Tula, Liham at Talumpati,” published under the auspices of the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM), Philippine International Theater Institute and the Komisyon ng Wikang Pilipino, gathers 13 poems, eight letters, and two speeches of the senator, with their corresponding translations.

Launch is set at 10 a.m., with assembly 30 minutes earlier at the tarmac and NAIA departure area.

The poems, most of which sound like prayers or meditations written in prison, include “The Candle of My Life,” here translated into 23 languages among them Malaysian by recent Manila visitor Anwar Ibrahim, and “I Have Fallen in Love with the Same Woman Three Times,” which had been set to music by Jose Mari Chan and now translated into Filipino as “Tatlong Ulit” by Isagani Cruz.

As a bonus, the poems also list “Prayer for a Happy Death” by former President Corazon Aquino.

The letters gather under one cover Ninoy’s singular correspondence with each of his five children, wife Cory, and good friend and fellow senator and detainee, the poet Soc Rodrigo, during the years of his incarceration under martial law.

In his letter to his son and namesake Noynoy, who would ascend the presidency at the same age as Ninoy’s death at 50, the senator writes: “I may no longer be around to give you my fatherly advice.” This book however may be that advice and constant guide.

The speeches include one that remained undelivered and was meant to be made upon his arrival that fateful day in August, and indeed was prescient: “A death sentence awaits me.”

Added features are a collection of winning text poems about Ninoy Aquino, and a copy of Republic Act 6639 enacted in July 1987 renaming the airport to NAIA.

In an opening message, Rafael Lopa of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation said the book “Ninoy” makes more historic and meaningful the 28th commemoration of the senator’s martyrdom.

In commemoration of Ninoy Aquino’s death anniversary, a simple celebration will be held at the NAIA tarmac at 9:30 a.m. today.

The program will start with music by a lyre band from Tambo Elementary School at 9:30 a.m. followed by the book launching of “Ninoy: Mga Tula, Liham at Talumpati.”

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Honrado would give the welcome remarks followed by several other speakers.

A Mass would follow after a quick response from the Aquino family and from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and dialogue partners.

The last part of the celebration will be the ASEAN flag display and floral offering at the departure area. - With Rudy Santos

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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