Ninoy's prophetic letter to his son (1)

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc -

Close to four decades ago the incarcerated Ninoy Aquino wrote his 14-year-old son about a momentous decision. As a last act of defiance against tyrannical martial law, he would no longer participate in the proceedings of the military court trying him on trumped up charges. It would mean the certain verdict of death, so he needed to explain his reasons to the lad. He also sought to prepare him to take care of the family. Did Ninoy know that, in sacrificing his life for democracy, he would also be preparing his son to take over the country?

This letter spread around the Net during the election campaign:


August 25, 1973

Fort Bonifacio

11:30 p.m.

Mr. Benigno S. Aquino III


My dearest Son:

One of these days, when you have completed your studies, I am sure you will have the opportunity to visit many countries. And in your travels you will witness a bullfight.

In Spanish bullfighting, as you know, a man — the matador — is pitted against an angry bull. The man goads the bull to extreme anger and madness. Then a moment comes when the bull, maddened, bleeding and covered with darts, feeling his last moment has come, stops rushing about and grimly turns his face on the man with the scarlet “muleta” and sword. The Spaniards call this “the moment of truth.” This is the climax of the bullfight.

This afternoon, I have arrived at my own moment of truth. After a lengthy conference with my lawyers, Senators Jovito R. Salonga and Lorenzo M. Tañada, I made a very crucial and vital decision that will surely affect all our lives: Mommie’s, your sisters’, yours and all our loved ones, as well as mine.

I have decided not to participate in the proceedings of the Military Commission assigned to try the charges filed against me by the army prosecution staff. As you know, I’ve been charged with illegal possession of firearms, violation of R.A. 1700, otherwise known as the “Anti-Subversion Act”, and murder.

You are still too young to grasp the full impact of my decision. Briefly: by not participating in the proceedings, I will not be represented by counsel, the prosecution will present its witnesses without any cross examinations. I will not put up any defense. I will remain passive and quiet through the entire trial and I will merely await the verdict. Inasmuch as it will be a completely one-sided affair, I suppose it is reasonable to expect the maximum penalty will be given to me. I expect to be sentenced to imprisonment the rest of my natural life, or possibly be sent to stand before a firing squad. By adopting the course of action I decided upon this afternoon, I have literally decided to walk into the very jaws of death.

You may ask: why did you do it?

Son, my decision is an act of conscience. It is an act of protest against the structures of injustice that have been imposed upon our hapless countrymen. Futile and puny, as it will surely appear to many, it is my last act of defiance against tyranny and dictatorship.

You are my only son. You carry my name and the name of my father. I have no material wealth to leave you. I never had time to make money while I was in the hire of our people. For this I am very sorry. I had hopes of building a little nest egg for you. I bought a ranch in Masbate in the hope that after ten or fifteen years, the coconut trees I planted there would be yielding enough to assure you a modest but comfortable existence. Unfortunately, I had to sell all our properties as I fought battle after political battle as a beleaguered member of the opposition. And after the last battle, I had more obligations than assets.

The only valuable asset I can bequeath to you now is the name you carry. I have tried my best during my years of public service to keep that name untarnished and respected, unmarked by sorry compromises for expediency. I now pass it on to you as good, I pray, as when my father, your grandfather, passed it on to me.

(Continuation on Friday)

* * *

”Let us tailor our needs to God rather than tailor God to our needs.” Shafts of Light, Fr. Guido Arguelles, SJ

* * *

E-mail: [email protected]

vuukle comment












  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with