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Home Sections Politics Two Different Views of the Death of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr.
Two Different Views of the Death of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Tuesday, 21 August 2007 16:21


C olumnist Valeriano Avila of The Freeman newspaper of Cebu City, Philippines, wrote today (Aug. 21, 2007) his piece about the martyrdom of Sen. Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. You can read excerpts of Mr. Avila’s glowing tribute to Senator Aquino hereunder. On the other hand, there are Filipino-American writers like Mar G. de Vera and this author who believe that Ninoy Aquino died in vain.

Yes, Senator Aquino’s assassination was the proximate cause of the downfall of the Ferdinand E. Marcos’ authoritarian rule. But many historians now say that Senator Aquino’s widow who succeeded President Marcos did worse than her predecessor. In fact, some argue that the Philippine democratic institutions and the national economy suffered more setbacks during the Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino presidency than under the Marcos Dispensation.

There are some Filipinos in the United States (like Mr. De Vera and this writer) who believe that Senator Aquino missed a golden chance to work for an Overseas-Filipino empowerment during his exile in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to Mr. Aquino’s return to the Philippines in August 1983, there were already more-than a million Filipino contract workers and immigrants in the United States. Senator Aquino could have used his exile in the United States to campaign for more proactive involvement of Filipino Americans in the affairs of the homeland. Perhaps he could have sown the seeds for the organization of an Overseas-Filipino Worker (OFW)-led political party. Mr. Aquino could have engineered a written plan (consisting of an economic platform and a program of government) for the political opposition to follow should the Marcos Administration finally collapse and end. Except for a chosen few friends and followers, the Filipino people never knew Mr. Aquino’s plans of leading them to the Promised Land. He never put in writing the advocacy that he was pushing as an alternative to the Marcos’ Administration. But historians should never blame Mr. Aquino, for he was just following the political practices of the Filipino presidential contenders, who never come up with a plan of action, much more fall-back positions, to address the needs of the times.

That was why when Mr. Aquino was assassinated and his widow stepped into his political shoes and won the contested "snap election" in February 1986, Cory Aquino did not know what to do. And neither did her much-vaunted advisers know what to do with solving the perennial problems of the Philippines. From this historical perspective, perhaps the death of Senator Aquino at the Manila Airport tarmac could have led to more productive changes in the homeland other than attaining martyrdom for the man.

QUOTE. They silenced Ninoy for speaking the truth!
SHOOTING STRAIGHT By Valeriano Avila
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
www.thefreeman.com


T oday is the 24th Anniversary of the martyrdom of the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino who I consider as one of the greatest Filipinos that ever lived. I have only met Ninoy twice when he came to Cebu to speak before political leaders or the Rotary Club. Many of us believed in him and thought that then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos did a lousy job as President of the Philippines. This is why we supported the late Sen. Serging Osmeña, Jr., who challenged Marcos during the 1969 Presidential elections. But then, Serging did not believe that Marcos would create and master the art of cheating via (the) election machinery that continues to plague our electoral system today.

We never expected, knew nor believed that Marcos was so hungry with power, he wanted more than eight years as President. This is why he devised a scheme to launch a series of fake assassination plots like the one that then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile openly admitted after the EDSA Revolt and so Martial Law was declared. For 14 years, Marcos ruled this nation as a strongman. The rest is Philippine history.

For 14-years, the Filipino people read the national newspapers believing that they published only the truth about the Marcos Dictatorship and we accepted their yarn. It was only the incarcerated Ninoy who dared speak about the Marcos Dictatorship and often, we felt Ninoy was just a bitter man, imprisoned for possessing a forked tongue. But as he was expatriated to the US, soon some of his speeches were brought back to the Philippines via the Betamax or later through VHS tapes and the man spoke something we never read about in the national newspapers.

Who could forget that speech by Ninoy who had a machine-gun mouth rattling off the so-called Marcos hidden wealth? He told us that Super Ma'am Imelda (Sir Max Soliven later coined the word, Imeldific) Marcos was into the "Mining Industry" where she boasted that this business conglomerate was "mine" and that business was "mine". We often thought that Ninoy was also telling us something untrue just to spite the Marcoses who put him in jail for seven years and seven months until he was expatriated to the US on May 1980 because Marcos was scared that Ninoy was suffering from a heart ailment and needed surgery and if he died on the operating table, he would not be blamed for his death.

But for telling the truth about the Marcos Dictatorship, 24 years ago, Ninoy was assassinated as he got off his China Airlines plane at what is now known as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Was it an assassination or was it a public execution? After all, a Military Tribunal affirmed Ninoy's death as 1977 sentence? Indeed how a venomous poisoned letter aimed to smear the name of the person who tells the truth or worse a bullet to silence him forever can easily extinguish our freedom of speech. Some use our courts to force the silence of those who speak only the truth!

But while a cal. 357 bullet silenced Ninoy, he transfigured from mere political mortal to become an eternal martyr of a grateful nation who sacrificed his life in service for the truth. Today, what Ninoy told us about Imelda's "Mining Industry" has become today's news stories.

What was vigorously denied by the Marcoses even during the Martial Law days and after they fled the country to Hawaii about their hidden wealth had remained hidden until just a month ago Imelda admitted that PLDT is hers, while her daughter Imee Marcos claimed to own 30% of the GMA Network, while Bong Bong Marcos claimed to own the majority stake in Lucio Tan's businesses. Indeed Ninoy told us only the truth about the Marcoses wealth and for this he was permanently silenced by his assassination 24 years ago.

It is for this reason why I consider Ninoy among the greatest of Filipinos. This is why we pay him tribute today. He was a man of many words, said in truth, a truth that has finally unfolded just a month ago. But are irate Filipinos marching the streets? Alas, we have so soon forgotten why we revolted against the Marcos Dictatorship! UNQUOTE. # # #




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