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Monday, August 21, 2006


Commemorating Ninoy 
Aquino’s assassination

By Eduardo D. Simafrania

TODAY is a nonworking special holiday to commemorate the death anniversary of one of the nation’s heroes, Ninoy Aquino. He was shot in the head on August 21, 1983, by government soldiers as they escorted him down the steps of an airplane at the Manila International Airport (now renamed after him) in Pasay City.

At the time, Aquino was coming home from the United States after years of exile. It was a gruesome murder that shook the whole world.

The bullet’s trajectory pierced one of his eyes from the back of his head. The wake later held at the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City saw a mammoth crowd so much in grief over the loss of a people’s hero. The funeral drew one of the biggest crowds in Philippine history. It portended the coming of another big event—the EDSA People Power revolt in February 1986—which brought the downfall of President Ferdinand Marcos under whose repressive administration the Aquino assassination took place.

The Aquino tragedy brought another unpleasant memory—the bombing of Plaza Miranda in 1971. Quite interesting is that the Plaza Miranda bombing and the Aquino murder happened on the same date, August 21. I do not want to quarrel with the so-called academicians in our educational system who seem to advocate sex education in our public schools more than underscoring the watersheds of our history as a people.

The Plaza Miranda incident refers to the bombing of the Liberal Party miting de avance during the 1971 senatorial election campaign. Marcos blamed the communists for masterminding the bombing and suspended the writ of habeas corpus. At the time, many people suspected the late dictator as the mastermind of the Aquino killing for three reasons: to stop the scheduled exposé of corruption in his government; to cripple the political opposition, which was the LP; and to justify the crushing of the protest movement.

It was later hypothesized, however, that the death of Aquino could not have been the handiwork of Marcos since, according to analysts, the dictator would have made Aquino a hero if he had ordered the killing. That the communists were the culprit in the bombing was advanced as a more credible theory.

The kleptocracy and dictatorial tendencies, which had characterized the Marcos regime in the 1970s to the 1980s, are still very much evident today. The so-called Marcosian tendencies were exemplified in a number of presidential decrees issued during martial law, some of which were illegal per se. This is the trend now and will continue forever unless government functionaries turn around 180 degrees and the military generals give up their power. Our nation is treading on dangerous ground because the military will never yield their power, which they have continued to wield since the time of Marcos.

For all of us, the death of Ninoy Aquino is worth commemorating. Let us ponder on its political significance. After that tragic event, we were given so much opportunity to change ourselves for the better only to be spoiled by the crooks and politicians who refused to change. They have prevented Cory Aquino, Ninoy’s widow who later became president, to change the political landscape and blocked the implementation of fresh advocacies. To paraphrase a saying, crooks with their chicanery never die, they just fade away.

The political will of every freedom-loving Filipino was shown when they staged the People Power revolt. It was a Filipino invention that brought down a corrupt regime. Many countries learned from us by holding their own people power revolution to eliminate ruling dictators and bring about drastic economic and political reforms . . .

Eduardo D. Simafrania is a recent graduate of the 
Paralegal School of The Manila Times





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