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Today in PH History

On August 21, 1983, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon returning home from a three-year self-exile in the United States.



The murder sparked a series of protests from an enraged nation that culminated in the February 22-25, 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt, forcing then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to flee to Hawaii.

The widow of the murdered former lawmaker, Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino, eventually was installed as the country’s 11th and first woman president.

Born on November 27, 1932 in Concepcion, Tarlac, Ninoy earned the monicker “Wonder Boy” of Philippine politics for his achievements as the youngest mayor of Concepcion, Tarlac at age 22, youngest vice-governor of Tarlac at age 27, youngest governor at age 29, and youngest elected senator of the Republic at age 34.

When President Marcos placed the entire country under martial rule on September 21, 1972 and suspended the writ of habeas corpus, Ninoy was among the many critics of the Marcos administration to be arrested and imprisoned.

Aquino suffered a heart attack while in jail and was sent to the United States where he underwent an open-heart surgery in 1980. After spending three years in self-exile, living with his family in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, Ninoy decided to come back to the Philippines in 1983 at the expense of endangering his life.

Despite a heavy contingent of 1,200 military and police personnel and three armed bodyguards assigned to protect him, he was shot fatally in the head as he was escorted off the airplane at the then Manila International Airport.

Some 16 officers and soldiers were convicted by the Sandiganbayan for the murder and given life sentences in 1990. All of the assassination’s details have been uncovered, except who the mastermind was. President Cory Aquino never bothered to find out the real brains behind it. Neither did her son Benigno Aquino III, who became President in 2010.

In his honor, the Manila International Airport was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). On February 25, 2004, the Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act No. 9256, declaring August 21 of every year, the anniversary of his death, as “Ninoy Aquino Day”, an annual public holiday. Several monuments have also been built in his honor.

Source: Kahimyang

Reference: Philippine News Agency archives
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