Remembering Ninoy Aquino

October 7, 2010 at 5:09 PM Leave a comment

N.B. – This opinion article was originally published in Asian Correspondent on August 19.

Evaluation: Jedd Hernandez said that the “writing style makes the reading experience enjoyable and keeps the article from being boring.” He also said that the “links gave sufficient background information without cluttering the article” and that the “analysis provided relevance to present-day situation.” It was discussed in class, though, that all personal opinions must always have a factual basis.

When Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. died 27 years ago, he showed how dying for the love of country is never a defeat but a glorious victory. He believed that in an endeavor to restore democracy in the Philippine government, one cannot let his fear of getting killed lead him towards inaction.

Because of his family’s political background, entering politics came early for Ninoy. In 1967, he became the youngest senator and the only candidate of the Liberal Party to make it to senate. He was then considered by President Ferdinand Marcos and his allies as their greatest threat, but unfortunately for them, Ninoy was not intimated by their number. He bravely exposed the anomalies carried out by the administration and warned the public of Marcos’ corrupt plans during his stay in office.

Not long after, Martial Law was declared in the country and Ninoy was one of the first arrested. As the opposition leader against Marcos, he was imprisoned for false charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms, and explicit subversion. Even under detention, Ninoy continued his plea for Marcos to step down and for a peaceful regime to take over. After seven years behind bars, however, Ninoy experienced heart attacks and was allowed by the Marcoses to have medical treatments abroad under conditions that he would return and would not speak against the Marcos regime during his stay in the United States.

In 1983, Ninoy decided to come back to the Philippines to talk to Marcos regarding the worsening political situation of the country. He knew very well that his return posed several dangers but he was willing to take the risk for the sake of his fellowmen. Despite threats from Marcos because of his continuous political involvement, Ninoy was ready to face the consequences of his actions in the struggle to attain freedom once again.

Ninoy’s assassination right after stepping down from the plane proved how Marcos was afraid of being conquered by the enemy and of losing the power he held over the entire land. It was a clear proof of injustice showing that fighting for change always comes with a cost. Having fought for his principles until the very end, Ninoy is indeed a martyr in the truest sense of the word.

Had he not been assassinated, Ninoy could have made a good president – a leader who puts his people before anything else and acts upon the boundaries of justice. Surveys during his time showed that Filipinos actually wanted Ninoy for president after Marcos’ term ended. However, every politician has his own detractors and Ninoy was no exception. Even with his clean intentions, many saw him as a representative of the familial elites who are still dominating Philippine politics today. Whether that was the case, it still cannot be denied that his assassination led to the fall of a dictator who abused the rights of the Filipino people.

As the country commemorates Ninoy Aquino Day on the 21st, may we not only consider it as another holiday but instead honor Ninoy’s heroic deeds as one of the country’s most influential leaders. Especially now that our new president is his very own son, it is crucial to look back on the past and understand what it really means to be a good example. President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, albeit having been in office for only more than a month, must already remember that family ties will only take him so far and thus he should not rely too much on both his parents’ legacy.

Indeed, the Filipinos are worth dying for in the same way that they are worth living for. At the end of the day, we all point back to Ninoy’s heroism for starting change in the country and putting the Philippine government back to a democratic state. It might have been through rough roads over the recent years, but as long as you remain our hero, we will continue working together for the betterment of the country. You were, you are, and will always be the Filipinos’ inspiration to fight and never stop fighting.

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