On August 21, 1983, 32 years ago, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was murdered as he disembarked from the plane he took from the USA to the Manila International Airport (MIA), now named Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after him. That incident made a major block of the middle class angry as they pointed the accusing finger at the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a logical suspect to have given the order to assassinate Ninoy who was said to be his biggest political rival and therefore a threat. This also added fuel to the maturing sentiment to end the authoritarian rule.
In 1985, because of the growing anti-fascist, anti martial law protest movement, Marcos called a snap election in a bid to prove his government was democratic and to appease the mounting peoples’ protest against his rule. The middle class opposition put their support behind Ninoy’s wife, now popular, to run against the dictator. The Marcos Commission on Elections’ canvass of votes, of course showed that Marcos was still the choice of the Filipinos.
Thus greatly disappointing those who pinned their hopes on the “hocus-pocus” exercise of a snap election. In the following year, as the Filipino progressive movements’ open call for the ouster of the dictator picked up momentum for change, the middle class reformists consolidated their ranks and in a bandwagon move forces loyal to Marcos withdrew their support to the government. To cut the story short, on February 25, a people’s uprising erupted where thousands of workers, peasants, students, Church workers, the middle class and urban poor flooded into the middle of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), growing toward Malacañang Palace chanting against the dictatorship and calling for peace.
Besieged in the Palace the dictator, his family and close friends were “rescued” by his real benefactor, the United States government and brought to Hawaii. And the vacuum in the leadership was filled by the rich and famous, the Filipino military generals with the help of the US. They set-up a new government which many Filipinos thought would change and uplift the life of Juan de la Cruz.
Filipinos hoped that with the aspirations of Ninoy, his wife Cory would lead the nation thru a much better path than Marcos. But history has proven us wrong as the social system and hierarchy did never change, the situation during the Marcos presidency that made the people rebel against him did not go away, and Cory was just seen as the icon of democracy.
Presidents after president came after her and the Filipinos complained of their policies and programs as they saw that it was not meant for them, the people, but designed for the ruling elite after all.
The son of Ninoy and Cory became President and promised to make his government traverse the “righteous path” or the Matuwid na Daan”. He was projected that because he was the son of two Filipino icons of democracy the people can be assured that Pnoy would carry on the legacy of his parents for good governance. In his first speech as the President, he identified the Filipino people as his boss and he promised to get rid of wrong-doings in government. And, he blamed the past governments for the misfortunes that the Filipinos were now suffering.
On August 21, the government shall observe Ninoy Aquino’s Day. The greater Filipino people may now realize that their hope of redemption will not be delivered by personalities or the children of icons of democracy but only through their united view, discipline and organized ranks can they trample on the system that makes their lives harder everyday. # nordis.net