(Statement of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, President of the Liberal Party, on Ninoy Aquino’s 40th Death Anniversary on 21 August 2023)
Filipinos manifest their love of country in different ways like doing their civic duty, crusading for meaningful reforms, resisting oppression and repression, campaigning for a change in abusive and derelict national leadership, and even sacrificing their life for the motherland.
Sen. Ninoy Aquino did all of these including forfeiting his life so that democracy can be restored in the Philippines and Filipinos can enjoy the blessings of democracy.
He had a grim premonition of his impending death when he decided to come home and confront the dictator. But he risked his life just the same. He was murdered upon his arrival from the United States on 21 August 1983 at the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport. His death accelerated the liberation of the Philippines from authoritarian ignominy.
His heroism galvanized the beginning of the end of the strongman rule of Ferdinand Marcos.
The assassination of Ninoy Aquino truly changed the course of Philippine history. It ignited widespread outrage and triggered national protests against the corrupt, despotic, and oppressive regime of Marcos.
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.
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. It solidified the already intense anti-Marcos sentiments among Filipinos.
Instead of the terror Ninoy’s slaying was intended to create, it gave Filipinos courage. 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.
It gave birth to widespread and unwavering public outcry, civil and political protests, and stirred the people’s longstanding discontent and heightened their sense of disenfranchisement.
The People Power Revolution of 1986 toppling the Marcos dictatorship was one of our finest moments epitomizing the strength and courage of the Filipino spirit and our steadfast determination to end tyranny, brutality, and corruption.
Ninoy Aqunio’s death was the shining beacon that lighted the path at EDSA culminating in the people’s overthrow of the dictator Marcos.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN