Please allow me this opportunity to share with my fellow CPMers this memorial in connection with the 30th anniversary of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s assassination. Please bear with me. Maraming salamat po.
By Tomas Gomez III, a family friend
[Note….this was first delivered during a Memorial Mass on the eve of Ninoy’s 53rd birthday on November 26, 1985 at the Newman Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu. With very minor editing, the same was again delivered at the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu on the third anniversary of Ninoy’s assassination on August 21, 1986]
Tonight, we gather in devout commemoration of a martyrdom, a martyrdom that sparked a revolution. A revolution that brought back pride to Filipinos all over the world: People Power unshackling human bondage and regaining a nation’s Freedom. It is, in this dear friend’s eternal rest, a dream come true.
Ninoy Aquino had his dreams of Camelot. He died in the romantic pursuit of that dream. And in death, he lives again in the moral leadership of his adored widow, as she courageously takes the Nation by the hand in the renewed pursuit of her husband’s Camelot.
[Raissa’s note: My thanks @marcboni Martial Bonifacio for posting the above video on Twitter. It’s a video that Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos never wanted Filipinos to watch.]
In the Christmas of 1979, at the behest of President Carter, Ninoy was allowed a respite away from his Camp Bonifacio jail to be with his family; to be with friends and relatives he had not seen for more than seven years. Ninoy spent this most joyful reunion almost without sleep, but with bountiful smiles, laughter, even hope.
Here was a man – a prisoner without position nor power, perhaps even without a future, yet his humble house in Quezon City was jampacked, all hours of the day, well into and past the night, by friends and political associates; media, both foreign and local; simple folk from Central Luzon and leaders from the Visayas and Mindanao.
The Marcos military stationed sentries at the entrance of the Aquino residence, interrogating visitors, demanding identification, purpose of visit and signing in. All this menace was to discourage visitors and keep track of the undeterred bold. A few days through the furlough, the sentries gave up in frustration and embarrassment, for they could no longer cope with the unexpected stream that called on the still popular Ninoy.
On the day he was to go back to the “slammer,” as Ninoy was wont to refer to his jail cell, he confided to friends: “I feel like a child, totally helpless and completely under control.”
One of those who visited was given a bunch of Haiku poems Ninoy had composed in the loneliness of his cell. One of them reads like this: “If death is certain, the secret’s not in living but is in dying.”
And oh, how he died! By Ninoy’s death, Marcos the grandmaster of political brigandage had earned for himself his day of infamy. Ninoy’s burial produced an unforgettable phenomenon——- the biggest and longest funeral in our country’s history.
Oh, what a death! The beloved Ninoy’s memory was indelibly ensconced as a monument in the hearts of his countrymen.
And oh, yes, what a colossal miscalculation! Marcos and Imelda – the Malakas and the Maganda of their own maladjusted myths – are still upon a demented search for history’s favor while their despicable fawning minions concocted in concrete Marcos’ bloated likeness desecrating a tribal mountainside.
There are legions of Filipinos, friends and admirers, who well-meaningly although unwittingly say, that Ninoy’s death gave new life and immeasurable strength to the political will of the Filipinos. Others say, perhaps, without his death, Filipinos may have remained cowed, unresistingly accepting their enslavement.
As a family friend and a political confidante, I do not believe it is enough to say that his death finally stirred the people into active indignation and rage. And the opposition, to a re-awakening from somnolent resignation into a fortress-like oneness. These are normal and logical sentiments but only make up for half the truth and therefore, not a fair measure of the man’s greatness. There is far, far much more than death, that Ninoy will have given to the Philippines and the Filipinos, had he lived.
It is for this reason that the crime of Marcos, Imelda and Fabian Ver was not committed against the Aquino family alone. The assassination of Benigno Aquino is a crime committed against the Filipino people because it deprived the country of the symbol and leadership, the example and direction that only Ninoy could have provided at precisely that moment when these were most desperately needed. Ninoy alive, will have undertaken the perilous and arduous task of leading the people in deliverance from a vicious and violent dictatorship. But as Fate would have it, from his dramatic death came the historic justice of a people’s inspiration and courage for their own deliverance.
Armed with nothing else but the conviction that his homecoming was well worth the risk in exchange for the chance to speak to Marcos for an hour, Ninoy placed his life on the line. That conviction is best expressed in Ninoy’s staunch and unflinching devotion to the restoration of the people’s rights and freedoms through non-violence, the personal sacrifice for genuine national reconciliation, founded upon Truth and Justice.
Despite being systematically maligned, harassed and humiliated by Marcos from the time that Ninoy was Governor of Tarlac province to 1967 when he ran for the Senate; from being jailed and kept in solitary confinement for over seven years; to being tried by a kangaroo court—still, there was , risking coming home and reaching out to Marcos.
As Cory Aquino, his loving wife, said: “Ninoy sincerely believed that if the two of them could sit down and talk to each other, he would be able to convince Marcos to return our democracy to us.”
But Marcos would have none of Aquino. Instead, he sent Imelda first to persuade and then to bribe him. Brazenly with bragging frankness, in a frivolous attempt at foolish flattery, Imelda told Ninoy that it would be much less expensive for the Marcoses to maintain Ninoy and his family, in grand style, away from the Philippines, than have him back in the country. But will all the cajolery and chicanery of the cute Imelda failing, she finally threatened Ninoy with death should he still persist in returning.
I recall, in an earlier meeting between Ninoy and Imelda, in imploring that the conjugal tyrants relax their stranglehold upon the nation, Ninoy had cautioned: “If your husband is sincere, nothing is impossible. But if your husband is not sincere, nothing is possible.”
The author of “Aquino vs. Marcos – the Grand Collision,” Manuel Festin Martinez, pointed out that to a despot like Marcos: “reconciliation is an impossible proposition, unless it is made in his own terms—-that Marcos remains in power and the character of his government shall not change.”
In contrast, the Jesuit Fr. Jose Blanco observed that Ninoy wanted a reconciliation that “seeks to change the situation rather than destroy the opponent.”
In August 21, 1983 — Marcos undertook to preserve the situation and destroyed his opponent.
To many, especially those in high places, the murder of Aquino has been a puzzle. Why would Marcos and Imelda order Ninoy’s death? It did not make sense to believe that Marcos would order Ninoy killed because Marcos would be the obvious loser. But there was more sense to the question that begged to be asked: who will b e the biggest loser had Ninoy lived?
Ninoy’s unexpected decision to return home then became a cause of grave distress to the Marcoses, because, Aquino back in the Philippines and alive, will most certainly and effectively unsettle their carefully crafted cabal, along with the pre-calculated foregone results of the legislative elections scheduled for 1984.
Let us all remember that the enormity of the crimes committed by the Marcoses, behind the smokescreen of Martial Law and “constitutional authoritarianism” no longer allowed them to dismount the tiger of absolute power, lest they are gobbled up in mangling death.
The 1984 elections was the linchpin of a long-range scheme to legitimize and perpetuate Marcos. That was the one and only scenario that would have provided the fulcrum upon which to launch Imelda as Prime Minister, and consequently as successor to her obsessively secretive ailing husband.
The Marcoses knew this is what they would lose had Ninoy lived. Therefore, they gambled on his death and arrogantly underestimated the Filipino people.
The conflict therefore transcends the exercise of political power and the heady opulence that comes with material wealth; it goes beyond all pretensions to statesmanship. Because insofar as Marcos and Imelda were concerned, Ninoy was the lingering mortal threat to their very animal instincts of self-preservation.
And so Ninoy had to be destroyed!
Graceful propriety and humane sensibilities would otherwise have demanded that anger and rage be absented from occasions such as this, but I find it an emotional and practical impossibility to extol the greatness of a much loved and admired friend, without providing the bitter circumstances, against which, his selfless act of bodily sacrifice became genuine heroism.
Ninoy’s willing sacrifice, exemplified by his decision to return home, despite the foreknowledge of the perils awaiting him, cannot but leave a legacy of courage.
His lonely battle against tyranny and oppression; his obstinate challenge against duplicity, deceit and debauchery demonstrated for all the world to see, that life after all, can be a great and honest adventure, full of meaning and purpose, if only men would choose to be brave and true.
Such a noble act of extraordinary courage, I pray,
From human sight be covered not.
For in God’s own measure of time, Ninoy is
“our fleeting wisp of glory……that for one brief shining moment….
….simply cannot be forgot.”
Because he dared to dream of Camelot.
Even to this day, PNoy, the son of mighty Benigno Aquino, has this same feeling of betrayal from the goverment that time that i felt everytime i reminished this event, perhaps maybe more than betrayal, i am not the son, yet i want to punish those people behind it…
The killing of Ninoy Aquino was more than pork barrels the corrupt senators are wishing for. The GREED to stay in power had commanded to end Ninoys life, just like that, mga ayup!!!! Animals they were and Animals they are today, they thought of staying in power yet they would not even last beyond 100 years!!! Woe to those who participated in Ninoys death…
My Lord Almighty, may You allow Ninoy and his wife be in your Kingdom to come…Amen…
I stumbled upon this video while watching some People Power documentary in youtube.
See 1:46 – 1:50
Imelda – “He (referring to Marcos) said he wanted to be president. I said why do you want to become president? He said because that when I can maximize my wealth and my…and my..”
and then Ruby Wax interrupts.
And an 11-carat engagement ring! WOW
tuloy pa rin ang laban sa pamumuno ni PNoy. ibigay natin sa kanya ang suporta ibinigay natin sa kanyang magulang. kahit saan angulo natin tingnan mas uunlad ang demokrasya ng ating bayan sa kanyang pamumuno.
Thank you, Ninoy. Open discussions would not have been possible without your sacrifice.
jorge bernas says
Thank you Ninoy, Thank you Cory, May you both rest in peace, and Thank you Pnoy for the many things that you have done to our Country, and to the things that you will have to FINISH…
Ninoy, may you now have a great time with Cory and enjoy your company together.
You spent much time with and for your people than with Cory. Now you have to make up for it,
notwithstanding the three years in Boston.
A deep and thoughtful eulogy for Ninoy Aquino’s death…an unannounced execution.
Many would say, assassination or shot at. Assassination is for the unawared and unprepared victim who probably is entering his house, walking innocently in the street, or drinking coffee at a Coffee Shop, or while sleeping inside one’s bedroom, or delivering a speech in public.
Here, the video depicts otherwise. It is an unannounced execution Ninoy knew, is eyes showed it as his lips closed just a second standing up as picked up by the team of soldiers. This moment is gone so fast.
Bang bang bang bang and bang! The mission is done. One for Ninoy and four for Galman.
Done. Mission accomplished Sir! Ninoy Aquino was executed. Done in. One-man firing squad. Galman was shot four times by another soldier, another one-man firing squad.
On that day there were two (2) executions. Ninoy Aquino first. The second Galman.
vander anievas says
it was said Galman was brought to the airport dead already.
An fb post of a friend, which I think is worth sharing. Not that we don’t value freedom and democracy, but we should be responsible and accountable as well for exercising those rights.
“Just some thoughts before this day of commemoration ends:
“If the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant was allowed to be fully completed and operational, would we need so many dams just to power Luzon?
“If the law criminalizing Squatting was not abolished, would we need to give so much time, effort and money for Relief Operations?
“Sometimes, the means justify the end. If only the end was allowed to be realized.
“Feeling sorry for the man who was assassinated 30 years ago. His countrymen, the people he thought were worth dying for, are suffering because of the effects of the democracy he sought and fought for.”
If we sail our ships like we do with thousands drowning, if we fly our planes and land not on the runway, if we drive our buses and trucks with brakes failing; better not to operate the nuclear plant. Our bahala na and pwede na culture will make it difficult to run the plant safely. Coupled with corruption, second hand parts or low quality parts will used for maintenance.
Criminal or not, there will be squatting since poor people do not have resources to build their own homes. And then ad infinitum ask why they are poor, they have no jobs or not paid enough, why are they not paid enough, because the rich wants more profit, why, why, why… until you ask in the end bakit pinanganak ang tao?
i hope your Fb friend was already around during the martial law years. it seems the “end” in his view is totally different from the “end” conceived in the minds of the Marcoses, which is, to exercise absolute power in order to amass incalculable wealth.
vander anievas says
sorry friend, i disagree. BNPP is not for pinoys. look at our cranky power plants. the sendai tragedy in japan is a clear warning for us all.
nuclear plant may kill most if not all in regions 3, 2 ncr, 4, i don’t know.
pinoys will not maintain that plant properly. maintenance money will go to pilferage only.
Ninoy could be the best president Phl didn’t had.
greedy politicians created the vicious aquatting attitude. pdaf if properly utilized in the countryside as livelihood will keep cohesive community. less migration.
@percy1007. i agree with you.
that fb friend is still drinking milk.
Please read the recent revelations on the Fukushima damage multiplied by factor 100
as against the previous year’s rating. And that is just on the puddles that could not be contained. .I pray you will soon understand.
Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is the dumbest project in the history of dumb project.
A potentially volatile structure built in relatively close proximity to then dormant Mt Pinatubo and situated near major earthquake fault line.
During the Cory administration, she had experts inspect the safety of the structure and as with expected of the overpriced, corruption ridden project of Marcos, failed the safety test.
andrew lim says
ON THOSE MARCOS REVISIONISTS
I was able to watch Solar Channel’s panel discussion on the Aug 21 commemoration last night which included Alan Robles among others. One of the topics discussed was the revisionism of some quarters that Marcos’ presidency was the best we had and all his crimes did not happen.
Here’s my take on those revisionists (I have devoted some time in the past researching on them- through their blogs, conversing with them, electronic surveillance, etc)
1. They are not that many yet, and they use multiple account names to give the impression that they are numerous. But they could pose a problem in the future if we allow their lies to infect others;.
2. Most of them are very young, teens to early twenties. So they have no idea what really happened during Marcos’ time esp. Martial Law. Their views are coming from sources we are not sure yet- Marcos funded websites and organizations probably.
3. Their typical profile: aside from the young age, many come from broken families, have one or both parents working abroad and so there is no responsible adult to educate them properly on our history. They are the “left behind” generation.
4. Many of them are distraught and desperate about their economic conditions and their futures.
CPMers can choose to help them as they are pathetic, but we must be ready to vanquish them if they decide to mount a comeback for Bongbong or any of those Marcoses.
Tomas Gomez III says
Thanks. Andrew…..I go for your your last paragraph. The ” vigilance of memory” is my personal guiding light, too.
vander anievas says
@andrew lim and T.Gomez III,
let us educate the misguided youngsters. start from our children and grandchildren. let the “vigilance of memory” bi with us always.
i too had a lot of encounters but i always assert factual accounts re dark era.
This is very true. They are so persistent & annoying they sometime take up a lot of comment space on PDI articles. They go by the names Bumble Bee, Brax82, Alex Alvarez, sanjuan(w/ a # afterwards), etc. & the usual style is to bash the present administration then extol Marcos if no reaction is noted. I think CPMers have noted these too.