Aquino didn’t care to bring father’s killers to justice

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Today marks the 32st anniversary of the assassination of opposition leader Ninoy Aquino, an event that changed the course of Philippine history. Newspapers’ front pages tomorrow will be filled with photos of President Aquino 2rd and his sisters grieving at their father’s grave. There would be eulogies to the martyr whose death triggered, as the Yellow narrative puts it, the fall of the Dark Lord.

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However, since four years ago, I’ve thought something’s terribly wrong with such photos, and with all the paeans.

There is one man who has all the resources and moral standing to put at peace Ninoy’s spirit by determining conclusively who ordered the assassination.

This is Ninoy’s son, President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

But Pres. Aquino hasn’t lifted a finger to bring closure to his father’s ruthless assassination. This is despite his five years of being the most powerful man in the country–in fact, in his first two years in office, one of the most popular presidents–and so powerful that he has been able to remove the Supreme Court Chief Justice, incarcerate the former president on flimsy grounds, throw three powerful senators to jail, and have the entire Congress under his thumb.

Aquino is known to be vengeful against those who have slighted him in the most minor manner. But this trait obviously doesn’t apply to his father’s murderers.

Aquino’s seeming lack of concern over his father’s murder indicates that either there is something deeply wrong in this person’s psyche, or that there is something terribly embarrassing in the assassination that has been kept so secret that even the victim’s powerful family has refused to uncover its mastermind.

It has been a shame on us as a nation, and represents the heights of our country’s hypocrisy in honoring Ninoy Aquino, that after 32 years, the conspirators who ordered the assassination haven’t been identified, much less convicted.

Still an unsolved murder, even as his wife and son became presidents. Ninoy Aquino and his alleged killer Rolando Galman on the tarmac Aug. 21, 1983.

Still an unsolved murder, even as his wife and son became presidents. Ninoy Aquino and his alleged killer Rolando Galman on the tarmac Aug. 21, 1983.

Nobody even seems to be even interested in finding out. The highest-ranking officer convicted for the crime was Aviation Security Command General Luther Custodio, who died in 1991. The rest of those convicted consisted of one captain, one lieutenant, and – talk of a class society – 13 sergeants and corporals.

The investigation and legal proceedings undertaken by the Sandiganbayan that led to the September 1990 conviction of these 16 military men were all undertaken at the height of the popularity and power of President Corazon Aquino, who could have left no stone unturned to identify and bring to justice her husband’s real killers: the person or the group of persons who ordered the assassination.

What kind of nation are we to fool ourselves that these military men acted on their own, and that there were no powerful personalities who ordered them to undertake an operation perfectly executed, without a single witness even with a phalanx of foreign correspondents accompanying Ninoy?

Could it be another – even the most shameful – demonstration that this nation is run by a single cabal we call the economic-political elite, that even the administration headed by Aquino’s widow wouldn’t uncover the brains behind the assassination since he is a member of this elite?

Cory’s apparent disinterest when she was president in getting to the bottom of her husband’s murder was viewed as an understandable, even laudable, above-the-fray stance of the Saint of Democracy. More cynical observers felt, however, that she was afraid to discover (or that she even already knew) that the mastermind could be Marcos crony and tycoon Edgardo Cojuangco, her cousin. (Cojuangco has vehemently denied such accusation.)

Aquino’s brother the late Agapito in 1990 right after the Sandiganbayan decision was issued told the New York Times: “They have not convicted the mastermind. But the mastermind, I believe, is already resting in peace.” He was obviously referring to Marcos, who died in 1989. But why couldn’t he even identify the strongman?

‘’It is best to leave this episode behind. We have to move on and continue working for the rehabilitation of our country,’’ he said. An assassination that changed the country, and he was saying the nation should just leave it behind, like a bad dream?

Kind-to-Cory explanation
An explanation kind to Cory claimed that if she had pursued Cojuangco for the crime, the oligarch could have joined and funded the many coup attempts against her rule, and that she chose to sacrifice her personal wish—to avenge her husband—for the sake of the country ‘s political stability.

However, her son certainly can’t invoke such excuses now to justify his disinterest in finding out who ordered his father’s murder.

A huge lacuna in our nation’s history is crying out to be filled, as mysterious as why first his widow and now his son seems to have no interest in finding out and expose who ordered the head of their family killed.

In the case of the mysterious assassination of another president, the United States’ John F. Kennedy, the trail had gone totally cold after nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who killed the alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died in prison four years later in 1967.

In contrast, in Ninoy’s case, Air Force Sergeant Pablo Martinez — one of those convicted – in separate interviews with two journalists admitted his role as team leader of the assassination force, and was willing to bare all. Martinez provided leads to solve the mystery, even identifying who ordered the assassination.

Martinez alleged that former Philippine Constabulary Maj. Romeo Gatan, a businessman named Hermilo Gosuico, former Air Force Col. Romeo Ochoco, and Air Force Capt. Felipe Valerio had planned the operation to assassinate Ninoy. None of these people had been convicted. They have vanished, with unconfirmed reports that they have migrated either to the US or Australia.

Martinez was killed in 2014 when the bike he was riding was bumped by a car.

While Aquino has all but forgotten his father’s murder, have the masterminds of the assassination been making sure that all trails of the evil deed that could lead to them are forever erased?

Thirteen of the soldiers convicted are still alive and could have been persuaded by the president of the Republic to tell everything they know. They could have even been convinced to disclose who has been generously taking care of their families financially in the 31 years they’ve been in prison.

President Aquino could have even for instance ordered the National Historical Commission to investigate the assassination for the sake of our history books. It could have written an official report to put in the books that the brains haven’t been brought to justice, in order to counter the Sandiganbayan decision which in effect concluded that the murder was merely a failure of military men to secure Aquino from a communist hit man.

The martyr’s son has done nothing. How can Aquino keep wearing that yellow ribbon on his chest, when he has done nothing to solve the crime it signifies?

How can we be proud of a nation whose two presidents, one the widow and the other the son, had not bothered to bring justice to a hero who had declared that the Filipino is worth dying for?

Or maybe it would be more realistic to hope that Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.—who aspires to lead this nation—would provide evidence to prove that it wasn’t his father who ordered Aquino’s murder, as most Filipinos believe the dictator in fact did.

* * *

A version of this article “His powerful son has done nothing to solve his murder” (Manila Times, August 22, 2014) has been one of the most widely read articles in this newspaper’s Internet version, viewed, according to our web statistics, by 60,000 Filipinos, and 7,200 even “liking” or “sharing” it in their Facebook accounts. Neither Aquino nor his spokespersons have, however, responded to the article’s serious allegations. I hope they do now. Details on what Martinez disclosed can be found in that article.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Bobi Tiglao

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42 Comments

  1. Closure is something that most people seek, although our President’s seemingly lack of interest in finding it suggests he may belong to the least who do not. The parallel of the story with that of John F. Kennedy is indeed appropriate, however it may be more appropriate to point out that just like our President, none of JFK’s kin seem to have exhausted all their resources to find out who the mastermind was behind the assassination. Who knows what reasoning drives the interest or lack of interest for powerful families to seek the truth? Maybe they already have? Maybe the truth is so terrible for us to know?

    In the Old Testament, God warned the people about the dangers of having kings, perhaps these things are the outcome of our insistence on having them. Whatever the truth is, it is perhaps best to seek answers for things in front of us now …

  2. it’s not surprising. because if you remember the previous column of Kit Tatad, when Ninoy by chance met Kit Tatad in America inside a library or bookstore, Ninoy greeted Kit Tatad, and the latter noticed that a woman who was with Ninoy surreptitiously disengaged from Ninoy.

    siguro palaging napapagalitan si Noynoy ng tatay niya dahil walang ka-drive drive sa buhay, kaya sumama ang loob ni Noynoy. According to columnist Carmen Pedrosa, there was allegedly a psychiatric report of Noynoy. His father sent him to a psychiatrist dahil wala siyang ka-drive drive.

  3. Aquino run for president to serve, not to seek revenge. I don’t think the author of this article would want to run for president of the Philippines to seek who his real father is.

  4. Well, how if Cory in the Mastermind and Pnoy is her sidekick….and Reagan was their silent partner in crime… they will expose themselves!

  5. Simple…. they didn’t care for the real killer of their father because it will come out that it is not Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. They want the lies remain in the mind of the Filipino people especially those who are following them. They want the Filipino people to remain living with and in lies.

  6. Neither the widow nor the son was interested in finding out who killed Ninoy … Yet many hundreds of thousands of Filipinos risked their lives to cry out for justice for Ninoy ….. Isn’t that ironic… Perhaps it was not if Marcos doing .. After all it was too vulgar and open an act that he would only be blamed off and put in jeopardy his rule .. The Cojuangcos and the aquinos however were the principal beneficiaries … Do you really need to be so intellegent to figure out who had Ninoy killed .. The funny thing is that they continue to use the assassination to show that they suffered when in fact they after being on power did not lift a finger to right the wrong and find out the truth.. Perhaps it is staring at us in the face

  7. Ninoy knew that he will die very soon because of his triple bypass operation. He rather die in Philippines than in US. So, he arrange how he will die. See how he described his supposed death in his interiew.

  8. kung nagpursigi si cory at noynoy na malaman talaga kung sino ang pumatay kay ninoy, eh, baka malaman nila na hindi pala si marcos ang nagpapatay.at eto ang ayaw nilang mangyari dahil lalabas ang katotohanan.kaya minabuti na lang na huwag nang ungkatin pa ang kaso…….

    • sang-ayon ako sa iyo kabayan. Napakaliwanag. Hindi mo na kailangang maging detective o abogado para malaman ang katotohanan tungkol diyan. Kung ako ang Presidente na marunong, intelligent ng katulad ni Marcos…. ba’t ko naman gagawin iyon sa ilalim ng araw? At kahit pa sa gabi, alam ng tao na kaaway siya ng gobyernong pinangungunahan ko bakit ko naman siya ipapatay, eh ‘di ako ang unang.unang suspek. Para ko na ring binaril ang aking ulo kung ganun ang aking gagawin.

  9. History will vendicate the marcoses. And it is inevitable that marcos will reclaim malacanang

  10. The reason why Aquino didn’t care to bring father’s killers to justice because he knew who the killer was and the he does’t want to change the history in favor of the Marcoses.

  11. There is a principle in law that says in case of a conflict between testimonial evidence and physical evidence, physical evidence must always prevail for obvious reasons. Ninoy’s body was NINE (9) FEET AWAY from the foot of the stairs as can clearly be seen from the photos, which supports the soldiers claim, including Martinez, that Galman shot Ninoy on the tarmac as they were walking toward the van. This was totally ignored/disregarded by the Sandiganbayan justices in the second trial (a second trial that was in violation of the principle of double jeopardy just to satisfy the widow and her camp) for reasons only they can explain. As for Martinez who said he was the one who brought Galman to the airport, he never said he talked to Gatan or Gosuico (who were Ver’s boys by the way), he said it was only Ochoco who was giving him instructions re Galman, and if Martinez ever mentioned Danding or the other names, obviously because this was what his handler Ochoco wanted him to believe. Did Danding benefit from the assassination? Ask him if losing the coconut levy funds can be called benefit. As for Martinez’s “accident,” ask around whose style it was to always make his assassinations look like an accident. Ask Miriam Defensor Santiago, for one.

  12. Cory and PNoy not pursuing uncovering who the mastermind is in the assassination of Ninoy are like the Apollo astronauts landing on the moon and discovering something REALLY BIG that made NASA discontinue the lunar program altogether.

  13. laguatanlawzen.com on

    The deafening silence and disinterest of Cory and son Pnoy to unearth the real killer of Ninoy is highly suspicious. They could have used their Presidential power to bring to justice the mastermind as well as the real killer.Both mother and son have made the public believe that it was Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos who ordered the assassination of Ninoy. Marcos is not stupid. He is a very intelligent man and street smart.If by fate, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Jr. becomes President he can immediately start the investigation to clear the name of his late father. Marcos was not involved in this serious crime.

    • benjamin brillantes on

      alam ni enrile na hindi si marcos ang nagpapatay kasi noong si jpe ang dnd, siya ang nakikipagusap kay ninoy sa kulungan (msu) thru telephone na pumirma na sa papeles para mapalaya si ninoy. kung talagang papatayin si ninoy, hindi na kailangan ang bala, hahayaan na lang siya na ituloy ang hanger strike ni ninoy. pero noong ika 18 days, dinala na siya sa army station hospital as ordered by gen ramas.24hours around the clock na binabantayan ng nurses at doctor headed by capt gerry cabigao. ako ang nagkataong guarda at ni report ko sa sgt of the guard na latay na at umuungol na si ninoy,

  14. I cannot really believe that Cory Aquino and Pnoy did not investigate to find out who killed Ninoy Aquino. I believe that they had it investigated but could not get evidence to point to FM and IM. so they are pretending they do not care because leaving doubts in the minds of the Filipinos works to their advantage.

  15. Salot sa Bayan ang mga Aquino. Da dating ang araw lalabas din ang katotohanan, kawawa ang tunay na bayani Ferdinand Marcos, ang nag mahal ng tunay sa BAYAN. SYA ANG TUNAY NA MARTYR. PWE MGA AQUINO!°

  16. Manuel Jaime jr on

    It is trivial and even futile to think or even ask who the real killer of Ninoy was.Marcos was fighting a battle in 3 fronts during his last five years in office.They were the communists in the hinterlands and the countryside,the oligarchs and their backed politicians locally and in the US and the disgruntled military and police officers allied with the US who was also disgruntled with Marcos with the way he handled and guided the country in ousting the US bases in the Philippines.History told us that these 3 entities benefited after the Fall of Marcos,with the US feeling betrayed when their 2 biggest bases outside of their mainland,were ejected in the Philippines by a majority vote of our senators then.Was Danding Cojuanco an ally of any one of the 3? Of course not! So it is incorrect to even think of Danding as a suspect,in cahoots with Imelda,because the latter even advised Ninoy not to return to the country because of the planned assassination attempt to his life discovered by the Philippines authorities.We also have to remember that the 3 common enemy of Marcos joined hands and allied themselves to form a united front in toppling his regime.And to established the fact of the mystery behind the assassination,it will help to think that the purported killer Galman is a communist assassin,the military outfit that arrested and escorted Ninoy is under a disgruntled officer in the name of Gen.Ramos,and the country that assisted Aquino to effect his return to the country is none other than the US.Did the US and Ramos,the oligarchs,and the communists ameliorated in the killing of Ninoy and the downfall of Marcos? Yes they do.In fact the US,assured by Cory of her administration senators majority vote of the bases stay in the country,lobbied very hard and exiled Marcos in Hawaii.Ramos became President after Cory.The communists hierarchy leaders captured and detained under Marcos were released at the awe of our military top brass.And the oligarchs?,they are back with vengeance and have become the richest of the rich owning most of the top businesses in the Philippines.Does Ramos have the capacity to plan and execute an assassination at the behest of US? It is for the public to appreciate and comprehend for the betterment of this country…

  17. THAT IS WHY NINOY CAN ONLY SPOKE OF A GRIM EVENT ON WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO HIM THE MOMENT HE STEPS DOWN ON THE TARMAC AS IT WAS DEPICTED CLEARLY ON A BRIEF ON-CAM INTERVIEW A FEW MOMENTS PRIOR OF DISEMBARKING.

  18. Recent development on forensic investigations proved that high velocity bullets does not travel straight when it hit a hard or soft object. A bullet cannot even penetrate straightly a hung mosquito net. The forensic experts have now concluded that the bullet that hit Governor Connaly of Texas was same bullet that hit Jack Kennedy then. So the bullet that killed Ninoy Aquino could have been from the gun of Rolly Galman as claimed by Sgt. Martinez. This must be the main reason why they don’t want to re open the case again because Galman was buried near the tomb of Ninoy.

  19. As there are too much dark smoke emitting after all these years (3 decades and counting) there is definitely a FIRE beneath that can destroy families and fortune if the TRUTH IS KNOWN! If he is not weak-minded and would like to leave a great legacy, the remaining year of his presidency, Pres. Ngoynoy (B.S.) Aquino III can still do something to reveal the real truth…. Cojuangcos (his relatives involved? Imelda Marcos, Ramos .. Who have benefited from the death ofNinoy?

    That’s elementary Watson! Find the trail of wealth and benefits and you will find the culprits!

  20. Who had the strongest motive to have Ninoy Aquino killed? Marcos was sick and could’nt have cared less for whoever succeeded him as President of the country. Mrs. Imelda Marcos in connivance with General Ver who had the means and the opportunity to carry out the crime? Or Danding Cojuangco and Mrs. Imelda Marcos in connivance with General Ver? If it is true that President PNoy Aquino knows who ordered Ninoy killed, why should he be afraid now to point to Mrs. Marcos and Ver if they are the culprits? If it was Danding Cojuangco, why should President PNoy be afraid to point to him now that his term as President is ending? Or, is he? Will he?

  21. The mother and son won’t go digging for the truth for they will lose their only hold to the nation that President Marcos was the culprit. They will lose this battle cry and they will be revealed as opportunists and first class hypocrites. Actually, it would seem that the perpetrators are way bigger than them that made them shut up. They honestly know it is not Marcos.

  22. Kale Alaskador on

    Maybe a superpower does not want the truth to come out! Do you have another explanation?

    • Bonifacio Claudio on

      It was rumored then that CIA men were present at all regional and provincial military quarters holding back the commanders in their decision to protect their Commander-In-Chief, Pres. Marcos by marching in their respective battalions to Malacañang and encircle Camp Crame to neutralize the coup d’état. They waited for orders from The Palace but in vain as the the communications facilities in Malacañang had been cut-off by the rebels.

  23. Better leave it as it is in my opnion, the Aquinos were right,,, it was so painful for Cory to undergo another heart breaking endeavor during her presidency, and for Pnoy to open the case that will divide the nation once again. It is best to keep the memory of Ninoy alive and celebrate his legacy.

  24. If ninoy was shot by a soldier while descending the stairs why was there no blood trailing from the stairs to the tarmac where he fell? I have asked this question for a long time and couldn’t find any answer making me conclude that it was galman who shot ninoy and not a soldier at all as we were led to believe by the government under Cory. I still wonder why the cover up.

  25. According to Teddy Locsin, a close ally of Cory, it was Danding who was the mastermind. Cory would never disclose the findings, if there were any, because her husband’s “heroism” would be a shattered illusion and it would be questioned. Marcos would come across as less evil as Cory wanted him to appear.

  26. somewhere in the cabinets of the uncle sam’s state department may provide answers to the killing. years from now, our grandchildren may be able to know once the details are declassified. were the two aquino presidencies gifts of uncle sam? just asking.

  27. What is the real reason why they are not interested to find all the people behind these…

  28. He’s more obssessd with jailing GMA than anything else! …what a warped minded man.

  29. Yes, there is something terribly embarrassing in the assassination of Ninoy Aquino and that is, if the truth were unearthed, it was not President Marcos who masterminded the killing of Aquino. Marcos, and you probably will agree, wasn’t that stupid. He knew full well that Aquino’s death especially in the manner it was carried out would be blamed on him. Maybe all these years people have been asking questions from the wrong people. Try asking the American Boy, U.S. West Pointer-trained, cousin-turned-traitor of Marcos, General FIDEL V. RAMOS, Chief of the Phil. Constabulary at that time who has been VERY strangely quiet about the killing since it happened 32 years ago. Ask Ramos what his subordinate, PC Major Romeo Gatan, was doing conspiring with Galman as alleged by Martinez. Ask Ramos what he knows, when he knew what, and what he did upon knowing what he knows. He likes to portray himself as a Christian so ask him to state what he knows with one hand on the Bible. God forbid that should he lie, the earth parts and swallows the General. Ramos hated Marcos. his own cousin. The key question in any investigation is “cui bono,” meaning “to whose benefit” was a crime committed. And who benefited from the downfall of Marcos? Ramos became President six years after EDSA 86, while General Ver whom Marcos trusted more slipped into oblivion and died in exile. Therefore, Ramos had more motivation to see Marcos fall, and what better way to engineer this than to assassinate the number one opposition figure at that time and have it blamed on Marcos.

    • Leodegardo Pruna on

      What a narrative and revelation? Social media and researchers may want to dig deeper on this. The mother and the son have no interest in unearthing the truth even if they know too much. It is unbelievable that they are not knowing anything about what transpired then and who the main actors were. Their silence is a deafening silence. God bless the Philippines.

  30. There is no motivation to find out who really was the mastermind in Ninoys death! Naging presidente naman si Noynoy at Cory di ba? What for ika nga…nakinabang naman ang buong pamilya!

  31. Bakit masyadong masunurin ang mga Aquino sa US?Alam kaya nila ang tunay na estorya? Malaking tulong ang US kung kailangan nila ng suporta para makilala nila kung sino ang pumatay kay ninoy! Pero bakit wala yata silang ginawa?
    O baka ayaw na ng Aquino family mabago ang mabangong pagkakakilala ng tao sa kanila! O ilag sila mabago ang history na hindi magiging pabor sa pangalan nila!
    Isang bagay lang ang ayaw nila!madagdagan pa ang karma!

  32. Danding Cojuangco and his side of the Cojuangco family, Tony Cojuare said to be the biggest campaign contributors of PNoy and the LP’s. Danding Cojuangco even crossed his own sister, the mother of Mr. Gilberto Teodoro by not even helping the candidacy of Gilbert but also financed a group including Dandings own family to attack his own nephew during tyhe campaign period. Why will Danding do that if he had no ulterior motives and reason? Danding wants to apeace the family of Ninoy, that is why.

  33. “The martyr’s son has done nothing. How can Aquino keep wearing that yellow ribbon on his chest, when he has done nothing to solve the crime it signifies?”

    The simple answer: Noynoy is inutile.

    He’s a president and he has all government resources to trace the whereabouts of Capt. Valerio and Col. Ochoco, show their photos to the public, etc. but Noynoy did nothing to get them. For almost 6 years, Noynoy did nothing to get the real masterminds of his father’s assassination.

  34. Everyone knows. The abnoy’s uncle, Danding Cojuangco.

    He had everything and the most to gain in the death of Ninoy.

    Marcos was a student of history. He knew killing Ninoy and making a martyr of him will be his downfall.

    Danding was all too happy to run away with Macoy’s loot under his care.

  35. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

    Corazon & BenignoSimeon(2 Aquino Presidents) continues disinterest in identifying
    the Aquino killers is very obvious. It simply produce more good than pursuing it. It
    continues the sympathy magic that produced 2 presidents. Analyse it deeper and
    the answer is there. I agree with Mr. Tiglao, these 2 Aquino presidents if they have
    the interest to pursue it with their vast powers could have done it in the interest of
    justice and fairness (mawawala na ang haka-haka). But these 2 Aquino as presidents,
    they preferred to sit on it. Bakit? Siyempre pinakikinabangan nila.