Saturday was the August 21 that was exactly three years less than three decades from the time this nation was shaken by the fall on the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport of a man in white who braved coming home from exile to confront the dictator and his martial law. His return to the country was a journey taken against the advice of many people who cared most for his safety and liberty. The man was granted by the dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, permission to leave the country and take time out of prison to undergo a triple bypass operation in the United States of America. It bears noting that he was jailed for more than seven years on trumped up charges that he protested with a hunger strike for forty days, detesting the brazen injustice of his trial before a military commission that was formed and was acting under the command of the commander in chief.
He was the staunchest political figure of the opposition, a presidential timber who was considered the undisputed challenger and successor of the dictator. Keeping faith in the Filipino, he risked his life on a homecoming that had a tragic ending. The assassination of Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. had been tagged as the murder of the century. The sinister plot was carried out amid tight military security. The trigger was pulled in broad daylight at an elevated staircase in an open space tarmac.
More than the shock caused by the fatal gunfire was the sudden blindness of military officers who failed to witness the true detail of the gruesome murder. Everyone saw was a fall guy assassin who was shot in rapid-fire fashion who appeared bloodless on the same tarmac near the body of the former senator who was dripped on his own blood.
A fact-finding commission never got into the bottom of the assassination. While murder charges sent military men who were charged for conspiracy in the double-murder of the senator and his fall guy assassin, many believe that the mastermind of that murder of the century is still free. It even took a retrial after the murder charges against the military officials were dismissed during the end days of the dictator. The retrial was ordered on the basis of a mistrial, by the new Supreme Court during the term of the widow of the fallen senator after the famous bloodless People Power Revolution of 1986. But even the retrial did not bring the real mastermind to justice. It is indeed appalling that even the catapulting into the presidency of Cory Aquino, government still failed to serve justice on her martyr husband.
That day became the turning point in our country’s history as it led to the fall of the dictator by way of a bloodless People Power Revolution. An attempt to reopen the murder case of Ninoy Aquino had been posited recently but nothing had resulted from it so far. The children of Ninoy had expressed forgiveness to the mastermind and all those who had participation in that murder of the century. When will this day find its meaning by serving truth and justice to Ninoy Aquino who offered his life in the belief that the Filipino is worth dying for. His supreme sacrifice ignited the people’s passion that catapulted his widow to the presidency and lifted his only son to the same pedestal of service to the Filipino people. He was dubbed in the annals of our country’s history as the best president this country never had.
By: Al Ellema
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