01
Dec
09

Assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr.

The assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr. occurred on August 21, 1983. Aquino was shot in the head while leaving the airplane at Manila Airport. The death of Aquino generated widespread demonstrations that acquitted government involvement in the act. In October 1984 the independent commission found that military conspiracy led by General Fabian C. Ver., the Philippine armed forces chief of staff, was responsible for the assassination.  Ver and 25 other suspected participants were acquitted of these charges in 1985.

The assassination of Aquino was rooted from the idea that Aquino produced a threat to Marcos government. Aquino, after all, had been Marcos chief political rival. For example, when Aquino presumably planned to run for president in 1973 Aquino was disillusioned in 1972 when President Marcos declared martial law. However, once the martial law was lifted Aquino returned home to the Philippines intending to campaign for the upcoming elections. Nevertheless, Aquino was never allowed to campaign. This assassination was the beginning of the end of Marcos regime. He was unable to regain control even after attempting to call for a snap election. His opponent then became Aquino’s widow, Corazon. According to Corazon, she felt that she “was not the only one who had suffered the most under Marcos” regime. Corazon alleged that she “could see the country sinking deeper and deeper into despair” and that the election was no longer “one politician against another politician” but rather “a search for someone who is almost the complete opposite of what Marcos is.” Corazon was aiming to seek justice. Throughout her campaign she became the driving force behind unity and fight against Marcos. Even though Marcos declared himself the winner of the election over Corazon, he was forced to flee the country due to the hundreds of thousands of angered Filipinos who marched the streets in rebellion. Corazon Aquino then became president.

This event is significant in Filipino history because it marks a new beginning in history under the reign of someone who is the complete opposite of Marcos. Marcos reign lasted two decades and was filled with corruption and treachery. Corazon Aquino represented the fight against a feeling of helplessness, powerless, and abuse against excessive autocratic rule. In her decision to run for presidency, Corazon quoted her husband’s words “’I will never be able to forgive myself if I will have to live with the knowledge that I could have done something and I did not do anything.” In essence, the question here was not political credibility or ethos but rather a question of determination and reconciliation for all Filipino people had suffered enough under Marcos.

 – Dora Alicia Gomez


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