Posts Tagged ‘Ninoy Aquino’

More about the assassination of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. The official verdict: the Senator was shot while descending the stairs from his airplane by his military escort–thus Aquino’s death was a military conspiracy, which loosely places the blame on incumbent President: Ferdinand Marcos.

This thought was the spark that set off a critical chain of events that culminated in the ouster of Marcos in 1986.

However, what if the verdict was wrong?

Now, more than 20 years after Ninoy’s death, more and more witnesses and arguments are coming to fore that exonorates the military soliders accused of killing Senator Aquino, and placing the blame on Rolando Galman–the other person shot on the tarmac on the day of Aquino’s death.

Here is the account of the sole civilian witness of Aquino’s assassination that day:

In the same breath, more calls to reopen the case on Ninoy’s assassination, backed by more forensic studies that exonorate the soldiers:

Finally a local forensic expert makes an argument against the official verdict against the soldiers:

However the arguments are compelling, the case remains closed to this day.

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August being the anniversary of the assassination of Senator Benigno Ninoy Aquino Jr., it merits a closer look at the man and his life. He is currently recognized as a national hero, his death in 1983 being the spark that caused a national outrage against Marcos that culiminated in the 1986 uprising that ousted the dictator from the Philippines.

Our media and minds are filled with memes associated with Ninoy such as “The Filipino Is Worth Dying For” and others, and the common Filipino might treat Ninoy as a person who willingly died to restore democracy to the country.

However, we have to ask an important critical question: did Aquino really want to die? Did he consider himself martyr material? Let’s take a closer look at Ninoy from what scant material we have in the media.

Batas Militar Documentary

Here’s an excerpt from the TV documentary “Batas Militar” which talks about Ninoy’s life and epitomy as a politician. Ninoy in history has always been a great orator and commentator, and his communication skills were excellent tools in politics. However, it is his story as a Philippine martyr that overwhelms most references to him, probably due to the extreme emotional outrage that his death sparked amongst his fellow Filipinos.

700 Club

Here’s an interview of Ninoy in the Christian show 700 club. More of how Ninoy is able to effectively communicate and use the sensibilities of his audience to rally people to his cause.

Japanese Media

Here are few media snippets of his interview prior to his arrival in Manila.

ANC: The Big Picture

Finally here is the best insight into Ninoy’s mind prior to his return. In a recorded conversation with close friend Steve Psinakis, Ninoy shares his motives for coming home and the trump cards he had prepared to garner Marcos’ support.

Some things that isn’t top of mind to the common Filipino about Ninoy Aquino:

  1. He had nothing to do with the EDSA revolution that led to Marcos’ ouster (that was after the fact, long after he died). And yet, most Filipinos associate EDSA with Ninoy Aquino.
  2. He wanted to become President of the Philippines at any cost–whether it was against or with the blessing of Ferdinand Marcos, he had no preferences. Until the day of his departure for the Philippines from Boston, Ninoy was heavily entertaining the chance to speak and negotiate with Marcos to sell himself as his successor.
  3. It is very likely that Ninoy thought that best chance of him becoming President was through Marcos’ endorsement. He was already negotiating behind the scenes to ensure his transition after Marcos–ASEAN, the MILF, the US, and Japan.
  4. Ninoy Aquino never intended his wife Cory to stand in for him in case of his death. 
  5. The US was less inclined to support Ninoy due to the instability his presence could cause in the Philippines, which threatened the status of US military bases (Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Bay).

History is written by the victors in any conflict. Of Ninoy, we know the hero, but not much of the consummate politican and statesman. Had he survived, perhaps our idea of Ninoy would be very different–not far from how we treat other politicians. He was an old-school player of the game, and a very good one at that–still posing Marcos a threat even while in exile.

Meanwhile, history will always remain played out the way it did–and so will our collective understanding of Ninoy–or the idea of Ninoy, far from the reality that Ninoy really was, or intended himself to be. We can’t rely on the history books for that. Only Ninoy can really say for sure.

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