Ninoy officially a national hero
- Marichu A. Villanueva () - November 28, 2003 - 12:00am
Slain former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. is now officially one of the country’s national heroes.

President Arroyo made the announcement yesterday after she joined former President Corazon Aquino, widow of the slain senator, and family members in a Mass at his gravesite at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City marking Ninoy’s 71st birthday.

During a speaking engagement before the faculty and students of Sacred Heart College in Lucena City, Mrs. Arroyo said, "Today is also the birth anniversary, 71 years old, of Ninoy Aquino, our latest national hero. Latest national hero because in my administration, in an executive order... the law proclaimed him as a national hero."

The President credited the self-sacrifice of the late senator to bring about the historic change in the country that led to the 1986 people power revolution.

Aquino was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983 at the tarmac of then Manila International Airport. Ninoy’s assassination eventually led to the ouster and exile of strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Aquino extended her gratitude to Mrs. Arroyo for coming to the one-hour eucharistic Mass celebrated by Fr. Catalino Arevalo with the San Jose Seminary choir assisting.

Mrs. Arroyo was joined at the Mass by some of her Cabinet members led by Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo and Secretary Michael Defensor of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).

Defensor also took the occasion to reveal to The STAR yesterday that Mrs. Arroyo has accepted the nomination of the Liberal Party (LP) to include Tarlac Rep. Benigno Aquino III in the administration senatorial ticket.

Defensor said his colleague in the LP and in the Cabinet, Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas II, will also be included in the ticket.

Roxas, a former Capiz congressman, has served the administration of former President Joseph Estrada and the present administration of Mrs. Arroyo.

AQUINO AQUINO JR. BENIGNO AQUINO CATALINO AREVALO EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ALBERTO ROMULO AND SECRETARY MICHAEL DEFENSOR OF THE HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT COORDINATING COUNCIL FERDINAND MARCOS LIBERAL PARTY LUCENA CITY MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MRS. ARROYO NINOY
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