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“My grandfather explained about the spirit world, how the souls of our ancestors continue to need love and attention and devotion. Given these things, they will share in our lives and they will bless us and even warn us about disasters in our dreams. But if we neglect the souls of our ancestors, they will become lost and lonely and will wander around in the kingdom of the dead no better off than a warrior killed by his enemy and left unburied in a rice paddy to be eaten by blackbirds of prey”. (Robert Olen Butler,U.S. writer).
I honor Ninoy in my book. I have devoted one chapter, “Are We Worth Dying For” plus some references on him outside this chapter. They are reprinted herein below:
“One of the finest 20th century heroes of the country went home in August 1983 from a 3-year exile from the US with a prophetic candor that the Filipinos were worth dying for. Few minutes after his plane landed, his military escorts shot him at the back of his head and few steps before his tired and weary feet longing for home touch the tarmac. A commission was formed to investigate the murder and it was headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court whom many have considered a lackey of Mrs. Imelda Marcos because he was seen holding an umbrella for Mrs. Marcos in one of those public functions. The commission was subjected to intense public criticism, thus Mr. Marcos was forced to create another headed by Justice Corazon Agrava, a retired jurist who was perceived to be another Malacanang loyalist.
The Agrava Commision came up with two reports, The Minority Report and the Majority Report. The minority report which was submitted by Mrs. Agrava to Mr. Marcos has cleared Senator Aquino’s military escorts for his death and pointed to the lone communist gunman, Mr. Rolando Galman as the culprit. This was Malacanang’s story line on how Aquino died. The majority report submitted by the other members of the Commission found Senator Aquino’s military escorts to have conspired to kill Ninoy.
On the basis of this findings all the military escorts were charged with murder in 1985 but were all acquitted. After Marcos fled to Hawaii in 1986, the Supreme Court declared a mistrial and another trial was conducted and found his 16 military escorts guilty of the murder. The mastermind was never known, but the people had the right suspect in their collective minds.
(Please take note that the new Supreme Court considered the acquittal of the military escorts of Senator Aquino as a “sham trial” and has ordered a retrial before the Sandiganbayan. The attitude of the SC was understandable because Mr. Marcos had already fled to Hawaii and Mrs. Corazon Aquino, Senator Aquino’s widow became the President in 1986. This is the year where the SC considered the decision of the Sandiganbayan acquitting all the accused from the murder of Senator Aquino a sham trial).
(And yes, in this Chapter I answered the query that we are worth dying for. But you have to read the book to find out why).
References of Senator Aquino outside this chapter:
“ x x x Gandhi was willing to be bruised by the British soldiers without let up and without putting up a fight until the soldiers would lose their appetite to beat him up. Senator Aquino was imprisoned by Mr. Marcos for 7 years and was sentenced to die by Mr. Marcos’ military tribunal but when he got the news that Mr. Marcos was ill, he hurried back home to talk some sense to the President to call for an election and transfer power to the civilian government instead of allowing a military junta to rule the country”.
” x x x
The discussion of the Supreme Court of the Aquino v. Enrile case went at length on the existence of the threat of subversion from both the Maoist New People’s Army and the secessionist Moro National Liberation Front from Mindanao, (MNLF). The threat from the NPA and the MNLF, however, can be easily contained by the Army which remained loyal to the institution of the government. (59 SCRA 183) The deference the Court made to the President to declare martial law on account of his control of various agencies which monitored the activities of the “enemies” of the state has blunted the Court’s right to inquire into whether such state of insurrection existed or not, and considered his determination of the state of emergency a political question therefore beyond the power of the court to inquire. Thus it has conveniently failed to inquire into the motives of the executive about those claims in the light of the fact that Mr. Marcos in 1973 can no longer run for President and even if he could, the faltering economy and the unpopularity of his government made the “Boy Wonder” from Tarlac a shoo-in for the Presidency. Martial law was an excuse for perpetration to power and the Supreme Court was nothing more than a willing accomplice of the repression that follows. The Aquino case was a plethora of 448 pages of legal dissertations and historical events designed to distort the crucial period of our history itself. Those moments in our history where two political titans have tried to compete for one political firmament and one was about to outshine the other had not his opponent beckoned the institutions of power and used those institutions to outclass his competitor. But in the minds of the historians, and the generations to come that are willing to see through the fog of distortions made by the Court, Senator Aquino has outclassed his nemesis; he died a glorious death – his blood rekindles the Filipinos’ love for freedom, while his tormentor died a silent death, felled by sickness in a strange and far away soil.”
” x x x
And by the way, the Supreme Court has a history of not standing up on the side of the truth. In 1979 the Supreme Court had refused to rescue Senator Aquino who was later sentenced to die by musketry by the military courts of Mr. Marcos.
Senator Aquino had earlier asked the Supreme Court to transfer his case from the military tribunal to the civilian courts which were open during martial law. Frustrated by the demeanor of the Court, he tried to withdraw his petition, just like the way the late Senator Diokno did on his petition for habeas corpus in 1973, but the Court nonetheless ruled on his motion for transfer of jurisdiction against him by claiming that the military courts have been duly constituted and therefore have jurisdiction over civilian defendants.
It was the subtle pressure from the US State Department that spared Senator Aquino’s life from the murderous military tribunals in 1975 only to be slain in 1983 by the same dark forces that lay behind those institutions of power under Marcos. [Aquino vs. Military Tribunal, (63 SCRA 549)] when Senator Aquino went home after a three-year of exile from the US.
“ x x x
A congressman from Ilocos Sur was shot at the back while about to receive the sacrament of a communion one Sunday morning. The house of worship was not safe from lawlessness that was perpetrated by those who are supposed to uphold the law. Gangland execution style of this magnitude, just like the execution of Senator Aquino in tarmac in 1983 can only be done by people in authority with tacit approval of the intended plan from someone up in the chain of command”. (NOTE: This post has been updated from what originally appeared in the Book to make the narration more correct).