Ninoy's death united broad anti-Marcos opposition — LP president

Ninoy's death united broad anti-Marcos opposition � LP president
Members of the Liberal Party offer flowers at the historical marker of the Plaza Miranda bombing in Quiapo, Manila as they pay respects to the victims of the said incident on Aug. 21, 2023.
The STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — Liberal Party President Edcel Lagman recalled that the assassination of former Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., a staunch critic of former President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., had united different factions of the broad anti-Marcos movement.

Lagman gave this statement on Ninoy Aquino Day on August 21 — an annual non-working holiday commemorating the death anniversary of Aquino. This year marks 40 years since he was shot down while being escorted off an airplane by security personnel. 

“Ninoy’s violent death in broad daylight also laid bare the brutality and ruthlessness of the Marcos regime in silencing its critics and muzzling the opposition,” the Albay representative said.

“His death did not only galvanize the opposition, it also united various anti-Marcos groups that previously differed in their approach in ousting the dictator, and resulted in cohesive and consistent mass actions,” Lagman added.

The lawmaker added that Aquino’s death had inspired courage, not “terror,” among Filipinos, setting off a series of events that led to the ouster of Marcos Sr. 

“In silencing him with a bullet to the head, the people were given a voice to articulate their just grievances and utter disgust over rampant human rights violations and unbridled greed of the Marcos regime,” he added.

Ninoy Aquino Day was created through Republic Act 9256, which requires an EDSA People Power Commission (EPPC) to hold activities in observance of the day with funding from the Office of the President and from private donations. 

Marcos Jr. commemorated this year’s Ninoy Aquino Day with a statement calling on Filipinos to “transcend political barriers” and unite behind the interests of the country.

RELATED: On Ninoy Aquino Day, Marcos calls on Filipinos to ‘transcend political barriers’  

In a separate statement, Sen. Risa Hontiveros also remembered Aquino’s death as the “spark” that led Filipinos to overthrow the Marcos dictatorship and restore democracy.

Hontiveros commented on her own post to share that she had, on the day of his death, objected to joining fellow student leaders in welcoming Aquino back to the Philippines at the airport.

“I was one of those who had objected to meeting him because I felt that he was a trapo and had not fought with us the previous years,” Hontiveros said.

“I had many opinions of Ninoy, but then I realized when they killed him that he had returned to the Philippines knowing well the risks. He ultimately was willing to give up his one and only life. He had said the Filipino was worth dying for, and he stood true to his words,” Hontiveros said.

She added: “On that day, Ninoy Aquino was assassinated. The rest, as they say, is history - and it became part of my personal history, too.”

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