Son disinterested in father’s murder

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The son—the only son—is President Benigno Aquino 3rd. The murder: that of his father Benigno “Ninoy” Jr. on August 21, 1983, an event which changed the course of Philippine history, and led to the invention of “People Power” as a weapon that toppled dictatorships all over the globe.

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Mr. Aquino though has done nothing to uncover the masterminds behind his father’s assassination and the all-too-convenient killing by soldiers of the alleged assassin Rolando Galman a few seconds later after he pulled the trigger of his .357 Magnum.

Aquino did nothing in his four years in office, despite his vast powers and political clout with which he has been able to remove the Supreme Court Chief Justice, incarcerate the former president on flimsy grounds, and have the entire Congress under his thumb.

Aquino’s seeming unconcern over his father’s murder convinces me that either there is something deeply wrong in this person’ 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.

I realized these when I read news reports last week that on Thursday, M/Sgt. Pablo Martinez, was killed when his bicycle was sideswiped along Roxas Boulevard early morning by a sports utility vehicle. An eyewitness claimed that the vehicle run over him after he fell from the bike. The police though concluded that it was purely an unfortunate accident.

Dead men tell no tales: (Left, video capture), former sergeant Pablo Martinez who offered to tell all about Aquino’s assassination on August 21, 1983 (right). He was killed in a vehicular accident last week.

Dead men tell no tales: (Left, video capture), former sergeant Pablo Martinez who offered to tell all about Aquino’s assassination on August 21, 1983 (right). He was killed in a vehicular accident last week.

Martinez’ death is the last nail in the coffin that could seal forever the secrets behind the assassination. Martinez was the key to uncovering who its masterminds were. He told Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Acosta (and a Manila Times columnist) and later other media that he was willing to cooperate with government and would tell all.

Aquino and his officials snubbed him.

Born-again Christian and pastor
A professed “born-again” Christian and a pastor of a Protestant sect, Martinez was among 16 officers and soldiers convicted and jailed in 1990 for Ninoy’s and Galman’s killing. In 1995, he admitted his role in the plot, and testified that it was he who had brought Galman, who he said was the gunman who killed Ninoy with a single bullet to head, to a hotel before the assassination took place. (All of his 15 comrades have claimed they are innocent of the charges that they were part of the conspiracy.)

Martinez claimed that former Philippine Constabulary Maj. Romeo Gatan, a businessman named Hermilo Gosuico, former Air Force Col. Romeo Ochoco, and Air Force Capt. Felipe Valerio planned the assassination, with several of the other eleven officers and soldiers making up the team that allowed Galman to shoot Aquino in the head, after which they gunned him down.

Martinez’ earth-shaking testimony though was made in a February 2006 article in the American Time magazine and in an on-camera interview in 2007 by ABS-CBN’s Julius Babao right after his release in prison:

“I didn’t hear any direct order from him. But I asked them [the conspirators in the hotel]who was giving them the orders, and they replied, ‘Danding.’“

He was referring to oligarch Eduardo Cojuangco who had controlled until the last few years the giant San Miguel Corp. Martinez’ claims were put in a formal deposition and submitted to the Supreme Court which had been asked to reopen the case. The Court though ruled that it didn’t qualify as “newly found evidence.”

Mr. Cojuangco has vehemently denied such accusations.

“Valerio is among those who might be able to shed light, but to me, it’s Ochoco whom the government should ask because he was the one who ordered me to bring Galman to the airport,” Martinez said in 2007.

Valerio was the head of the 10-man team of Aviation Security Command who collected Aquino from the China Airlines plane to the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport, where the former senator and then the Galman were shot dead.

Valerio and Ochoco disappeared right after Marcos’ fall in 1986.

Valerio was not included among the 16 convicted or the other 18 accused who were acquitted since he could not be arraigned, as he could not be found and arrested. He was reported to be living in the US. Ochoco, for some reason was also not indicted, and has been reported to be living in Australia.

Former President Arroyo released, upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and using her power of executive clemency, those convicted of the double murder case in 2007 and 2009 on grounds that they had served two decades in good behavior as well as, in Martinez case, having reached 70 years of age. Five of those convicted, including Gen. Luther Custodio, died in prison because of various sicknesses, and one was killed in a jail fight.

When Arroyo granted clemency to the soldiers, Aquino, his mother and sister Kris were livid, claiming it was an insult to their family. Then Senator Aquino 3rd claimed that the release was a “pretense of mercy” that was really an “ act of political vengeance” because of his family’s criticism of her government.

Arroyo orders reopening of case
Arroyo, however, ordered her justice secretary to reopen the case, to find out where exactly Valerio and Ochoco were, who had been reported to living in the US, and to have them extradited. The plan though fizzled out for some reason, partly because the full cooperation of US authorities could not be secured.

Fast forward to Aquino’s ascension to power.

Aquino and his people have done absolutely nothing to get in touch neither with Martinez nor with the other ten officers and soldiers convicted of the crime to convince them that they would be put under his protection if they told everything they knew about the assassination.

Having given everything the Americans want, allowing them to have military forward operating sites here, couldn’t have Aquino asked them for a small favor of looking for Ochoco and Valeria, and extraditing them here to face justice?

One would have thought the only son would use all the resources at his command as President of the Philippines not just to avenge his father, but to shed light on what is arguably one of the most ruthless but pivotal killings in our nation’s history, and to have justice finally prevail after three decades.

Aquino hasn’t.

Martinez after his release got some job as security manger at the offices of the Air Materiel Wing Loan and Savings Association, and waited in vain.

In the entire government, and even in the entire nation, it seemed it was only Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta who had been interested in the rights and welfare of the soldiers convicted, or who wanted to get to the bottom of the Aquino assassination.

Acosta told a newspaper reporter that Martinez had often told her that he feared for his life, since the senior officials implicated in the Aquino-Galman double murder were still at large.

“He said he was afraid. But he was just fighting his fear,” Acosta said. “Actually, all the Aquino-Galman convicts were afraid for their lives. They have not contacted me since they were released from prison in 2010,” she said. “They went on their separate ways and sought refuge on their own.”

Aquino’s mother Cory also seemed disinterested when she was president in getting to the bottom of her husband’s murder. However, this was mostly viewed as an understandable above-the-fray stance of the Saint of Democracy.

More cynical observers though felt that she was afraid to discover that the mastermind could be Cojuangco, her cousin, or that she even already knew this.

An interpretation kind to her claimed that if she had pursued Cojuangco for the crime, the oligarch could have joined or 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.

BS Aquino cannot justify his total disinterest
The son certainly can’t make such justification now for his total disinterest in finding out and prosecuting his father’s murderers.

Ask six well-informed Filipinos who they think ordered Aquino’s assassination and each will give a different answer: Ferdinand Marcos, his wife Imelda, his trusted military overlord and cousin Gen Fabian Ver, and Cojuangco. The fifth would say he has no idea, and the sixth that he doesn’t care. The reason why anybody could raise doubts that Marcos was the brains is that he was reportedly more often sedated for his lupus disease at that period.

With Martinez’ killing, we would never know the truth, tragically even if his son has been in a position to uncover the truth. A big lacuna in our nation’s history will never be filled, to remain as mysterious as why the son didn’t lift a finger to find out who ordered his father killed.

How can Aquino keep wearing that Yellow Ribbon on his chest, instead of a pin of the Philippine flag, when he has done nothing to resolve the crime against his father and family that that symbol points to?

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Rigobero D. Tiglao

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15 Comments

  1. Ay naku, itong mga kabataan always want to revenge and digging not two graves but more graves. There are alot of things that are better to be left alone than expose. We always forgive dahil ang makapangyarihan na anak ng Diyos si Jesus Kristo ay nakapagtawad sa mga lumapastangan sa kanya pati mamatay tao at kawatan tulad ni Barrabas. Ang paghihiganti ay para sa mga taong duwag dahil hindi matanggap ang katotohanan. We can’t go back to history even all the issue with JFK was left alone with an independent investigation was done but no one finds it convincing. Look what they did with MLKing it created chaos and drew the line with all solid colors in the rainbow. Patawarin nyo na sila dahil walang patutunguhan ang lahat ng galit ninyo.

  2. Pres. Aquino is accused by media almost in all his official functions as “vindictive” now is denounced as “son disinterested in father’s murder”. There is something wrong here. How can these two contradictory positions coexist in a person. These are being forced as gospel truths. Then the media concluded that the problem is in this President. Could there be a sliver of a chance the problem is actually the Media’s “interpretation” of events?

  3. Like his mother – Cory, the son is not interested in pursuing justice to the death of his father, what kind of a son is Noynoy,? President Benigno Aquino III has ALL the vast powers, resources to solved the murder of his father, but this son (is he really the son?) never gives a damn to his death of this father, this is very hard to believe and unfathomable, WHY IS THE SON NEVER INTERESTED IN THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER? This is highest form of insanity, period!

  4. Maybe at this point in time for their family, the costs just outweighs the benefits.

  5. Samuel Santos on

    Are the son’s sisters (Ballsy Cruz, Pinky Abellada, Viel Dee and Kris Aquino) likewise disinterested?

  6. Domeng de Leon on

    I’m not convinced, knowing that Galman was already dead inside the Avsecom van when Ninoy was shot at the back of His head while descending on the stair from the plane while escorted by the military. Hopefully not so many will be deceived by his story.

  7. Very good Mr. Tiglao. Kung kumilos si Cory/PNoy habang sila’y nanunungkulan bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas upang buhayin ang kaso at kilalanin ang utak ng pagpatay sa kaniyang asawa/ama ang sasabihin mo at nang karamihan sa sambahayang Pilipino ay ginagamit nila ang kanilang kapangyarihan at impluwensiya at mas inuuna pa ang pangsarili nilang kapakanan kaysa sa kapakanan ng napakaraming Pilipino.

    Hindi talaga aasenso ang sambahayanang Pilipino dahil maraming marurunong na katulad mo. BRAVOOOOO..

  8. Carl Cid Inting on

    Why should PNoy care? Ninoy’s murder enabled PNoy’s mother to become president of the Philippines, just as Cory’s death enable PNoy to become president. The end justifies the means. Even if it means the murder of your own father.

  9. Amalia Rosales on

    Why should he open a crime which would surely vindicate President Marcos? No one in their family would like it to happen. They succeeded in painting a villain image of he Marcoses and a martyr and saint of democracy images for their father and mother, why do something to vindicate the Marcoses and destroy their holier than thou picture?

  10. Jose A. Oliveros on

    Ninoy Aquino’s own widow was not interested in finding out who was the mastermind of the assassination of her husband. And that was in 1986 when there were still witnesses who were not only very much alive and were willing to reveal everything they knew because Marcos, Ver and others suspected of having a hand in the assassination had fallen from their pedestal of power. Cory, on the other hand, was still at the peak of her popularity – even regarded as a saint by her most avid admirers. Then Tanodbayan Raul M. Gonzalez had already some vital leads to uncover the dastardly plot. But Cory did nothing. Would Ninoy’s son be interested, after all he is already in power and the crime against his father had prescribed? If the widow and the son of Ninoy are not interested, why should we?

  11. He is not interested, for it might change the status of his father as a hero “kuno”. When in fact his death was all about personal business.

  12. former president gloria macapagal arroyo was the one who pardoned all the old and aging soldiers who were imprisoned for the death of ninoy aquino, jr. that’s a fact. as livid as like what was said. pnoy, his mother and sister kris were about the pardons. that too is a fact. now, and just a thought, is it the reason why the lady from pampanga is in jail, or hospital arrest for that matter, is that simple reason that she granted presidential pardons to the accused killers of ninoy so that as far as pnoy is concerned, it’s paybnack time for the former president? hell, he was able to have the supreme court justice impeached, yet he cannot muster the will to find the real killers of his father. murder is murder. i’ll be damned if i am the president of the philippines and i cannot even reopen my late father’s file to get to the bottom of the truth as to who really killed him. i suppose that at the end of pnoy’s term, i won’t be surprised if he will be remembered as a coward.