Did Ninoy Aquino really deserve all the honors?
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 21, 2019 - 12:00am

Pardon my irreverence for asking that question. Today, as we celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the murder of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., it is apropos to reflect on the character of the man who is considered as a hero by many and a villain by a few. Do we really know who Ninoy was? I don't think so.

The many who considered Ninoy a hero admired him for his fearless fight against dictator Ferdinand Marccos, who happened to be Ninoy's fraternity brother in UP. Those who hated or criticized Ninoy seem to know certain facts most of us haven’t really verified. Ninoy is honored with a special non-working holiday today. Such an honor is denied to Apolinario Mabini, Emilio Aguinaldo, Juan and Antonio Luna, and Marcelo and Gregorio del Pilar. Not even Lapu-Lapu is honored with a non-working special holiday. And so, what has Ninoy done to deserve such a national accolade?

All he did was to deliver speeches denouncing Marcos and his martial rule. But the late Lorenzo Tañada, Jose W. Diokno and Jovito Salonga also did the same. They weren’t given a nationwide non-working day. All Ninoy did was go to South Korea not as a soldier but as a reporter, but even a sophomoric journalist could do it. Ninoy did not fight any battle unlike many soldiers who died in Bataan, Corregidor, Marawi City, and Mamasapano, neglected by Ninoy's son, who could have done something to save them. All Ninoy did was run for mayor, congressman, then senator at very young age. But many did the same. His accomplishments were not unprecedented, much less unsurpassed.

Ninoy was dying of serious heart disease and boredom in Boston, and all he did was come home as Marcial Bonifacio, falsifying his passport and usurping a fake personality. The greatest historical error of his enemies was to have him killed, thereby adding drama to his life which was threatened by cardiac arrest. Thus, he got what he dreamt of. His death gave rise to his widow becoming president. The demise of his widow led to his son, a non-performer in the House and the Senate, to succeed a very unpopular GMA, even defeating a better Tarlaqueño, Gibo Teodoro, Cory's nephew and Noynoy's cousin.

Unknown to many, Ninoy was accused of treason for delivering a privilege speech in Congress denouncing the Jabida mission, for which Marcos trained special forces in Corregidor to take back Sabah, our Sabah, from Malaysia. Because of Ninoy's exposé, Malaysia cut off diplomatic ties from us and closed our embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Ninoy became popular with the anti-Marcos forces, as well as the communists. Then we lost our claim over Sabah. The administrations of both Cory and Noynoy refused to pursue our claims. Damage has been caused to our integrity as an ASEAN member and we might lose Sabah forever, despite the fact that, until now Malaysia pays rent to the sultanate of Sulu.

Ninoy has been tagged as unusually close to the Huks under Luis Taruc and to the NPAs. The first thing Cory did in 1986 after EDSA was to release both Joma Sison of the CPP/NDF and Kumander Dante or Bernabe Buscayno of the NPA. So if you think Ninoy was indeed a hero, then Marcos, who fought the Japanese and was wounded in battle, must really be the villain. But I honestly don’t think so. Pardon my irreverence.

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