Friday, August 21, 2009

Ninoy Aquino Day

He died 26 years ago. According to the government, he was shot by a lone gunman the moment he stepped out of the plane. The greatest president we never had. His death has let off his widow, Corazon C. Aquino to the limelight and eventually to the presidency, putting back the 20-year dictatorial Marcos administration. To many Filipinos, Ninoy Aquino during those times, was considered the number one contender of Ferdinand Marcos.

On August 21, 1971, Ninoy Aquino had not attended the Liberal Party kick-off rally at Plaza Miranda where all of a sudden, the stage became a scene of bloodshed. It was later found out that two grenades were thrown that killed 9 and injured 120. A year after, Marcos declared Martial Law and arrested the number one opponent, Ninoy Aquino for charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms, and subversion. No evidence pointed him to the crimes yet he was found guilty and was sentenced to death by firing squad. The sentence was eventually alleviated but he remained in prison where he had a heart attack that forced him to go to the United States to have a bypass surgery.

Aquino spent three years in the US with his family. But even in his absence, he was still accused of campaigning a revolution. Ninoy later on declared that he was willing to lay his on life on the line.

Then on August 21, 1983, being aware of the dangers that awaited him, Aquino decided to go back to the Philippines. Regardless of security guards, military and police officers at the tarmac, armed bodyguard, and a bulletproof vest, Aquino was still shot in the head. No direct evidence linked Marcos to the assassination yet there was a prevailing dissatisfaction on the Marcos Administration. The assassination opened the eyes of the people from all walks of life. It has also pushed Ninoy's widow, Corazon Aquino into the public eye. She was convinced by the oppositions that she was the one to beat Marcos and later on campaigned for the 1986 snap elections.

Ninoy Aquino's legacy lives on. Lots of monuments was built to commemorate his death and most of all thanks to the congress for enacting RA9256 declaring August 21 as Ninoy Aquino Day, a legal holiday in the Philippines, it means double pay for us who still went to work ;)

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