Ninoy Aquino grandson shows support for Ako Si Ninoy, Oras De Peligro films

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Ninoy Aquino grandson shows support for Ako Si Ninoy, Oras De Peligro films
Vince Tanada's Ako Si Ninoy stars JK Labajo as the late Sen. Ninoy Aqui
STAR / File

A grandson of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino and late President Cory Aquino has expressed support for Vince Tañada’s Ako Si Ninoy and Joel Lamangan’s Oras De Peligro, and reacted to the new Darryl Yap film that also featured his grandfather as played by Isko Moreno. During the Pandesal Forum to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the People Power Revolution which happened on Feb. 22 to 25, 1986, University of the Philippines political science professor Francis Joseph “Kiko” Aquino Dee said he would encourage audiences to watch the Ako Si Ninoy and Oras De Peligro films.

He said he has already seen Ako Si Ninoy with his mom, Viel Aquino-Dee, adding that watching the 2009 musical play-turned-film felt nostalgic. Based on its synopsis, the movie from the Katips director “chronicles the life and tragic death of Philippine national hero, former Senator Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Simeon Aquino Jr.,” who is played by actor-singer JK Labajo. It is now showing in cinemas.

“The play came out in 2009, just a little after my lola (former President Cory Aquino) passed away. So medyo malapit sa puso ko talaga yung play na yun. Parang nakakatuwa na pinapalabas yung pelikula, tapos parang alam ko na ano mangyayari… yung ibang jokes medyo since 2009 pa… the humor is somewhat from that period. So it’s nostalgic,” Kiko said.

Joel Lamangan's Oras De Peligro is topbilled by Cherry Pie Picache and Allen Dizon.

He said that the family is grateful to direk Vince for coming out with the film.

“At saka nakakataba sa puso na parang lalo na ngayon na hindi popular siguro na maging… na ikwento ang mga kwento ng mga Aquino. May mga brave pa rin… nagsasabi na bayani pa rin si Ninoy, na parang siguro nung bata ako, that wasn’t a controversial statement but maybe it is now. Malaki po ang pasasalamat namin kay Atty. Vince Tañada that he pursued this project,” he added.

Meanwhile, at that time of the forum, Kiko had yet to see Oras De Peligro, but he believes the film is closer to the essence of the EDSA People Power as the film is set in the days leading to the historical event.

Cory and Ninoy grandson, UP political science lecturer Kiko Aquino Dee (leftmost), together with analyst Ronald Llamas and Pandesal Forum moderator Wilson Lee Flores, discusses the significance and continuing challenges of EDSA Revolution 1986 at the Pandesal Forum of Kamuning Bakery Cafe in Quezon City

The synopsis reads: “As unrest unfolds, a family who lives in the slums grapple with the murder of their patriarch in the hands of corrupt policemen, turning from passive victims of social injustice into active participants in the final hours of the uprising.” Directed by Joel Lamangan and produced by Alvi Siongco and lawyer Howard Calleja as the maiden offering of Bagong Siklab Productions, the drama film stars Cherry Pie Picache and Allen Dizon, among others.

Kiko said, “I think yun po yung mas malapit sa diwa ng EDSA na natutunan ko sa lola ko… Yung lola ko, parang siempre malaki ang parte niya sa EDSA, like yung binanggit ni Sec. Llamas that the groundwork of EDSA was planted before Feb. 22. So my lola, we believe, (that she was part of that) because after Marcos was declared the winner by the Batasang Pambansa, nagtawag ng civil disobedience, boycotts yung lola ko and then kumbaga, handa na yung mga tao magsilabas nung nanawagan si Cardinal Sin na ipagtanggol sina Sec. (Juan Ponce) Enrile and Gen. (Fidel) Ramos.”

Kiko’s lola, Cory Aquino, became the country’s president after Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s two-decade rule and the 1986 People Power revolt. Ninoy was the opposition leader during Marcos’ years in power.

While Kiko has not followed the trailers of the Joel Lamangan film, he said he knows its story and is aware that “archival footage lang yung papel ng lola ko dun if anything. The main story is yung taong bayan na nagsilabas nung mga araw na yun. Malaki ang utang ng loob ng henerasyon ko sa lahat ng mga nagsilabas nung EDSA. Hindi lang naman (siya) isang proyekto ng isang tao or isang pamilya or isang grupo. Spontaneous nga sabi ni Sec. Llamas. I’m looking forward to hopefully learn a lot from Oras De Peligro.”

Asked by The STAR if he’s going to actively endorse both films, he said, “Opo for sure, kasi Ako Si Ninoy masaya siya na kwento and for me, it is nostalgic. Yung Oras De Peligro, to give a wholehearted endorsement, I need to watch it. But I’m very much looking forward to watching it and I’m hoping to learn a lot from this film.”

Meanwhile, The STAR also asked for his reaction to the new Darryl Yap dramedy, Martyr or Murderer, which casts former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno in the role of Ninoy. He said he has no plans of watching the film but, “well, siguro ang masasabi ko nalang… malinaw naman yung lolo ko yung pinatay at binaril in the back of the head… So siya yung pinatay tapos so many years later, siya pa ang sisiraan.”

The sequel to Darryl’s 2022 hit Maid in Malacañang is said to recount “what happened to the Marcos family before and after the EDSA Revolution, a sneak peek of their life in exile,” as well as explore how the “strife between Marcos Sr. and Benigno Jr. started,” and why the latter’s “death is blamed on the Marcoses.” It makes its theatrical run on March 1 side by side with Oras De Peligro.

“Siguro hindi mahirap i-imagine kung ano ang nararamdaman ng pamilya. Isipin niyo na lang kung ginawa yun sa lolo niyo, pinatay siya, malinaw na biktima siya, siya pa ang sisiraan? I think, yun na lang po ang masasabi ko dun.”

Kiko has not seen Maid in Malacañang, which told the “last 72 hours of the Marcoses inside Malacañang Palace before being exiled to Hawaii, during the 1986 People Power Revolution,” through the eyes of Sen. Imee Marcos, who was creative consultant on the film.

But when asked how the Aquino family reacted to the release of the first film, he said, “Siguro po nabigla.”

“Malinaw na very provocative yung pagkagawa sa kanya,” he added, particularly referring to the controversial mahjong scene.

“Definitely, it wasn’t well-researched and hindi kami kinunsolta sa scene na yun. Ewan ko, nakakagalit po siya. Kung napapansin niyo ngumingiti lang ako ngayon, pero pinalaki kami na ‘wag masyadong… not to react strongly sa mga ganitong bagay. Pero kung ano… siempre nakakagalit siya. It’s not easy to express.”

In a separate interview with The STAR, direk Darryl said that he was not out to “demonize” Ninoy in the film.

“If that’s true, salamat,” Kiko reacted. “Ang napapansin ko kasi ngayon, yung mga tawagin natin na black propaganda or anything, mas ma-subtle siya ngayon na imbis sabihin na murderer ka, murderer ka ba? So parang dun palang sa pamagat, medyo napupunta na sa ganung direction ang pelikula pero kung lalabas duon ay… ang message ng Martyr or Murderer, martyr yung lolo Ninoy ko at murderer yung kung sino pumatay sa kanya, then salamat because that’s the truth.”

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