THE commemoration of the 31st anniversary of the EDSA “People Power” uprising will be “meaningless” unless the masterminds of the 1983 assassination of former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. are identified, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said on Wednesday.
VACC founding Chairman Dante Jimenez called for a reinvestigation of the case, lamenting the failure of the two Aquino administrations to unmask those responsible and to put closure to the assassination.
Jimenez was referring to the governments of Aquino’s widow, former President Corazon Aquino, and son Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd.
“All commemorations remain an empty justice if the question of who masterminded the death of Ninoy Aquino is left unanswered,” the head of the anti-crime advocacy group said.
Jimenez said the soldiers who were convicted by the court for the killing were mere “pawns.”
He admitted that the period of prescription for the prosecution of the crime had lapsed, but the government should still identify the architect of the assassination.
“We want to find out the truth. We want closure and this can only be done through the identification of the masterminds,” Jimenez said.
Article 90 of the Revised Penal Code states that “Crimes punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or reclusion temporal shall prescribe in twenty years.”
Aquino Jr. was assassinated on August 21, 1983 at the Manila International Airport, now called Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Aquino Jr.’s nephew, said the “People Power” revolt belongs to the people and not to the Aquinos, and the historic event did not happen only because of the 1983 assassination.
“It (revolt) happened because it is the people’s will to bring back democracy and freedom and to fight the widespread corruption,” he said.
Senator Francis Pangilinan said he saw no problems with the low-key celebration of the anniversary, saying what is important is the recognition of the event that brought back democracy and freedom to the country.
Duterte won’t attend
Malacañang earlier announced that the commemoration of the 31st EDSA “People Power” revolt would be “simple and quiet” because President Rodrigo Duterte wants the nation to move forward instead of being stuck in the past.
The President will not attend the anniversary rites, according to the program released by Malacañang.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea will be the guest of honor in the commemoration at Camp Aguinaldo on Friday.
EDSA People Power Commission vice chairman Joey Concepcion said Duterte’s absence should not mean the event is not important to him.
“And it doesn’t mean that he will never attend any event. It just happens that…there are just so many things that are happening in country today, and as a host of the Asean and many other pressing concerns,” he said.
WITH CATHERINE S. VALENTE