Understanding Ninoy Aquino


August 21 occupies a profound space within the hearts of Filipinos, etching an indelible chapter in our history. This poignant date, four decades ago, commemorates a pivotal moment when we reflect upon the tragic loss of former Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. His life was abruptly curtailed on the airport tarmac, victim to the fatal shot of an assassin’s bullet.

The events of that fateful day remain veiled in a haze of controversy and conjecture. According to the official account, a lone assailant breached stringent security measures, targeting and gunning down Senator Aquino before his feet could even touch the tarmac. Nonetheless, this narrative has been met with skepticism and intense scrutiny.

An inquiry orchestrated by a team designated during the era of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Senior identified a habitual criminal as the perpetrator behind the untimely demise of the Senator. However, an independent investigative body embarked on a distinct exploration, unearthing compelling evidence that raises the possibility of involvement by Senator Aquino’s escorts in the tragic episode. While some escorts met their demise and others languish in captivity, the true mastermind remains at large.

Many envisioned Aquino as a potential successor to the ailing Ferdinand Marcos, capable of leading the nation beyond its tumultuous state. I hold the belief that, given the chance, Aquino would have chosen to spearhead a movement rather than orchestrate Marcos’ downfall.

In interviews conducted before his return to Manila, Aquino emerged as a transformed individual. His time in America deepened his connection with faith, even to the extent of contemplating a detachment from politics. Instead of following a Castro-like path, marked by violent revolution against the ruling elite, Aquino’s approach would have mirrored Gandhi’s nonviolent principles against British rule. He likely would have entrusted this vision to a select group within the progressive opposition, encompassing both radical and nonviolent members, before possibly retiring to an advisory role.

Aquino’s transcendence from his political persona marked the turning point in his legacy. His untimely demise ignited a sweeping uprising that dismantled the despotic regime that had gripped the nation for years.

Aquino’s true essence remains enigmatic even to his staunch supporters and those who profess to comprehend him. They perceived his actions as overtly political, while Aquino himself hinted that genuine societal transformation assumes a spiritual nature in the Hegelian sense. Aquino recognized that for a nation’s profound change to materialize, there must be a shift in the fundamental values that initially molded it. Nations are rooted in ideas, whereas states are formalized constructs.

As we cast our thoughts back to August 21, we pay homage to the memory of a committed public servant who yearned for a more prosperous Philippines. The legacy of Senator Aquino reverberates through time, and the circumstances enveloping his passing stand as a poignant reminder of the intricate fabric of our nation’s history, urging us to pursue the truth and justice that our people rightfully deserve.

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