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August 25, 2008

Around this time of the year since 1983, this is a favorite question: who killed Ninoy Aquino?

To many who loved and admired this irrepressible opposition icon of Martial Law years, the answer was quick and precise: the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The reasoning was simple: as Ninoy was his number one political enemy and the one single threat to his authoritarian rule, Marcos was the only one with any motive to take Ninoy out– who else? That day in 1983 was the climax of the long-running feud between a bad guy and a good guy; that day, the good guy fell— that is all. Over the years, this became conventional wisdom. Forget about proof this time for Marcos was an evil genius of a lawyer who could make all traces leading to him disappear even in deathbed.

Some were unbelieving. I was one of them. It was a tragic crime, for sure, but for Marcos to mastermind the whole thing? he, the ever-calculating political fox plotting something as bloody messy and brazen as Ninoy’s assassination in broad daylight, right smack inside the country’s premier airport, with guards, escorts, passengers and all, where outside, thousands of his followers including his family were waiting…? If it had the mark of genius, it was not of Marcos but of someone with a flair for theater who wanted the strongman to fall with a loud thud on his ass.

The sentiment of the time prevailed over. It was to be the precursor of the president’s downfall less than three years later in what is known popularly to this day as EDSA People Power Revolution. And oh, what a loud thud of a fall it was, indeed.

But time revises sentiments and perspectives. Conventional wisdoms are forced through the crucible of new insights and information, especially when so many loose ends are sticking out of them. As it is, the assassination of Ninoy Aquino is being revisited again with new inputs that were then ignored or hidden for one reason or another. The Philippine Daily Inquirer has a running series on the matter, the most exhaustive so far:

Fewer than 10 people on the plot

Marcos: ‘ my best successor is Ninoy’

The Pattugalan memos

4 innocents picked up

Curiously, those who you expect to be enthusiastic are not enthusiastic. As one keen observer once remarked in puzzlement: why is it that the widow herself, former President Cory Aquino, seems uninterested in pursuing the case despite new compelling leads? To be sure, you see this attitude in all those who pointed and continue to point to Marcos as the murderer. It seems, to them the matter is closed and any further investigation is out of order. Marcos killed Ninoy, period. It is wasting time questioning that.

This indifference could not be without reason. The thing is this: the proposition that Ferdinand Marcos, if proved beyond doubt, had nothing to do with the killing of Ninoy does have far-reaching implications damning and unflattering to many revered personalities of EDSA and mocking of some treasured views. For one, the whole story of Ninoy Aquino’s heroism was perfected by his tragic death and the belief that his murder was the handiwork of his political archenemy, the evil one, President Marcos. Here you have one noble man willing to die for his country and there you have another whose wicked aim is to perpetuate his evil regime by all means foul and fair, including murder. Perfect antagonism in a perfect scenario out of a perfect storyline. But you begin making Marcos innocent in this whole assassination drama and the entire story is thrown off its axis and orbit. If indeed Ninoy was a mere unwitting pawn sacrificed to ruin Marcos, Ninoy the hero loses hold and Marcos the victim gains currency.  And we have yet to consider the incredible story that Marcos was allegedly grooming Ninoy to be his successor.

For another, it would throw into disarray all claims to righteousness that was EDSA. After all, when we speak of EDSA People Power we speak of the triumph of goodness and justice over wickedness, injustice, darkness, and all things foul that they say the Marcos government was. Yet it would mean that from the very start the EDSA forces have been all along accusing an innocent person of a dastardly crime he did not commit. Well, okay, if you hate Marcos enough, you could write it off as his settlement for his own grave sins to the Filipinos and the rest of mankind, as it was with the Plaza Miranda bombing. Still, it does not look good if justice be thy name.  Moeover, whatever the circumstances, false accusations raise the stock of the accused and disgrace the accuser.

There is yet another side to this sorry turn of events damning to the EDSA forces. Recall that sixteen soldiers were convicted of the crime and most of them remain to this day in prison, sick and aging. Now, if the revelations are correct, it means most of these soldiers were innocent all along, as they have been claiming from the start! And if so, it follows that the EDSA forces did send innocent men to prison, robbed them of their freedom and destroyed their lives! There goes to flame all claims to righteousness— for what graver injustice could be inflicted on another? It is one thing for villains to point accusing fingers to innocent men, for it goes with their nature, in the scheme of things. But as you claim to have affinity with the good forces of the universe, it is another to have committed the same transgression.  Now, how could this thing be rectified without facing up to the ugly ramifications that go with it?  This is dilemma in full perfection.

I have a feeling it was guilt surfacing when about the same time last year former Chief Justice Andres Narvasa made the opinion that the book on the Ninoy assassination be closed with finality by forgiving the soldiers convicted of the crime .  One time Cory Aquino told the convicted soldiers to ask forgiveness and to confess the masterminds, and she will have them pardoned. They refused, insisting on their innocence. Often, I wonder now if it should not be her and the government asking for forgiveness from them instead.

UPDATE: Continuation of the PDI series

‘The most suspicious soldier on the tarmac’

‘To get to the mastermind, follow the money’


Key players buried with their secrets

32 Comments leave one →
  1. Renato Pacifico permalink
    August 26, 2008 12:27 am





    • kent permalink
      August 17, 2011 2:33 am

      I also think he did commit suicide to make himself a martyr. I have seen a video of Ninoy just before his flight back to the philippines. He detailed in the video the manner in which he will be killed. It was a grand plan to pin down Marcos.

      • pinaswatcher permalink
        November 10, 2012 1:24 am

        he plan it to make him a hero a fake hero besides his dying due to his heart is failing already he will die sooner in USA that why he wanted to die as a hero not in sickness.

  2. August 26, 2008 1:00 am

    Kindly use lower case letters next time.

  3. ptm permalink
    September 14, 2008 8:38 pm


    I am prepared to hear your reasoning behind this statement and would be quite interested in whatever evidence you may have.
    thank you,


  4. November 3, 2008 6:07 am

    Hoy Renato! Nasan na ang sagot sa tanong na binato sayo?

    As expected, all cheap blabber…NO SUBSTANCE! Tsk tsk tsk!

    It’s just like saying “Ferdinand and Imelda didn’t plunder the national treasury during their conjugal dictatorship!”…DUH!

    Funny as it may seem, Makoy loyalists are STILL bitter on the fact that their leader is depicted as EVIL in Philippine history while NINOY is a HERO who got more than he bargained for! Wake up loyalists…this isn’t 1972 anymore! HELLO!!!

    “$UICIDE my @$$!” =P

    • sidestep permalink
      August 24, 2011 5:48 am

      Who do you think you are?, Just accept that your hate is not totally worthy for what you believe and think that Macoy was behind the killing and as media keeps inventing that he was the evil. Think for a while. =P

  5. February 16, 2009 2:22 am

    kaya ba hawak2 si ninoy sa ayala kc pilay sya nang tumalon sa eroplano?

  6. March 7, 2009 10:30 pm


    I did a thesis proposal on the subject diligently going through various materials including the actual Agrava report. I also met a few people not even mentioned in any of the papers. One was actually present when Marcos learned about the incident.

    Few points (Based on available evidence/materials):

    1. It wasn’t Galman.
    2. It was one of his escorts (Probably the metrocom guy to his left. There were only two directly behind him).
    3. The jailed soldiers are not entirely innocent – during the investigation all of them had a perfect scenario of what happened – contrary to evidence (pictures; videos; and audio).
    3. The trail ended with Abadilla. The commission was so focused on the soldiers but the materials in front of them could lead higher.
    4. It wasn’t Marcos either (Long story).
    5. Couple “people” I talked to pointed to F. Ramos and Imelda. Ramos put Cory in Power – she never really pursued the case during her presidency (Live and let live). This is really interesting but why not? If they re-open the case – they should “really” look into this – enough said.

    1. When they were teenagers Imelda thought Ninoy was courting him because ninoy would bring her to dances and parties, but Ninoy fell for Cory (Wealthy Conjuangco).
    2. Marcos and Ninoy are close with R. Magsaysay – both were married in Malacanang.
    3. Marcos met Imelda and thought her name “Romualdez” would get him known to Southern P.I. if he need to expand his political ambition.
    4. Imelda never forgot when Ninoy “dumped” her for Cory.
    5. Marcos saved Ninoy’s life at least twice (that’s a fact).

    In short, the few people running this country knows exactly who was behind it.

  7. March 9, 2009 12:40 am

    Thanks for sharing this M.

    If I remember right, Cory offered the soldiers a chance at quick pardon and release on two conditions: apologize to the nation and confess on the mastermind. If I were one of them and indeed guilty, why, the choice would be easy, don’t you think?

    One thing you missed: Ninoy and Marcos are frat brods.

  8. March 10, 2009 6:35 pm

    Most of the soldiers’ guilt was their participation in the cover-up and nothing beyond that. The METROCOM guys know who among them did it but I do not believe they know the mastermind and even if they did, none can offer tangible proof plus the fate that their families will certainly succumb too.
    Yes, they are frat brods; I also failed to mention that while Ninoy was in prison Marcos had him fetched with a helicopter to go to the Palace. Though bitter rivals in public, the two occassionally met at a friend’s house and talked about their activities. Ninoy also introduced Marcos (when he was just a congressman) to the Oligarchs of the country. One of them was the elder Lopez (owner of Meralco & etc), who financed his presidential candidacy (at least in one occassion, 6 million pesos in cash was given to Marcos).
    It’s nice to have this informative exchange with you.

  9. Randall permalink
    March 20, 2009 5:54 am

    A friend of mine who was part of the Presidential Security at the time under Marcos relayed to me a story that happened around the time of Ninoy’s assassination.

    They were in Malacanang and Marcos was sitting at his chair facing his wife and then General Ver and it was around that time that Marcos learned about Ninoy’s fate. He then picked up the ashtray and threw it at his wife shouting, “Why did you kill my brod?”

  10. March 26, 2009 3:07 pm

    Unfortunately – It’s true.

  11. lhaysa marie o. pascual permalink
    March 27, 2009 4:51 am

    kailan pnatay c ninoy?????????????????????????????????

  12. pinkaloochie permalink
    June 16, 2009 11:30 am

    i was told by my grandfather (who is also a mason) that ninoy & marcos are not just any ordinary frat bros. but Mason’s and back then actually until now once ur a mason you will remain to be one until death… and ninoy decided to quit… which he was warned… that’s why he already knew he was a dead man walking even before he landed in the philppines… but still he took his chances…

    for the record how can someone be declared a hero when clearly he did not even do a single thing except croak in our an airport… Jose Rizal he’s a hero’s ksi he fought till his death, Aguinaldo (kababayan ko) is a hero ksi he faught for our freedom, Andress Bonifacio, Tandang Sora, Apolinario Mabini ( im sure you get my point)…. ang daming mga totoong bayani to this day ang daming pwedeng ituring n mga bayani that actually did somthing to deserve the title… we just had go too far… kya EDSA2 my God! it wasn’t enough that the first truned out to be a bad idea we had to do it again…

    Sna our new President will be more Filipino…

  13. malaya permalink
    August 4, 2009 1:35 am

    Now that the truth came out why have you became silent? You’ve accused Marcos of a crime he did not do, now that it is proven that he was not the one who killed Ninoy, wher are you? Napaka BINTANGERO nyo. i am not pro-Marcos, I know he did some bad things. But I am a just person, I try to look at every angle, you on the other hand had been judge mental and one sided. You should not be a blogger because you take sides. Come on man!

  14. querubin permalink
    August 4, 2009 8:20 am

    The discussions is very much insteresting and informative. I too once believed that Marcos is the bad guy behind Ninoy’s death, that is what written in the history books. But I was wrong. Most people are pointing their fingers at the wrong guy, barking at the wrong tree.

  15. Sun permalink
    August 9, 2009 4:58 pm

    If that is the case, can somebody explain why Marcos did not go after the real perpetrators? he was still in power for 3 yrs after ninoy was shot, to name the plotters would surely turn the events into his favor…. he even used his influence to acquit the soldiers involved in the killing? pinkaloochie, mangilabot ka sa pinagsasasabi mo, you are too innocent to understand that you will never enjoy the democracy that we now have if not fot the martyrdom of Ninoy, you are just too young i presume, to know what martial law really is!!! but back to the topic, if all the write ups are true, Marcos should have saved himself and go after the real plotters, may it be her wife or his cronies…but he never did which brings us to the same conclusion again, he participated in it!!!

  16. October 14, 2009 1:54 pm

    Hey Sun, I have a question for you. Using your logic, Corazon Aquino was president for 6 years after Marcos, why couldn’t she herself find any one of these “plotters”? Why couldn’t she find the person behind her husband’s assassination? Marcos was smart enough to know that killing Ninoy would be cause for people to step up and start a revolution. Which it did. Marcos did not participate in this act.

  17. ampepe permalink
    November 29, 2009 5:01 am

    ang sarap po magbasa ng mga blog nyu, khit po ndi ku alam ung tunay n ngyari dahil bata pa aq at walang karapatan magbigay ng opinion ku. its nice to see different angles “whether true or not” that is different from what the unconfirmed stories on history books feed our children.

  18. internal anonymous permalink
    May 13, 2010 7:09 am


    Ninoy Aquino was assassinated by brethren Filipinos who participated and worked with American Internal secrecy services during the era of Marcos.

    These Filipino officials and soldiers, planted and bombed plaza miranda and make up all means for uprising to Marcos’s present governing. For those times, the Marcos administration are good payer of US debts. These secrecy services of the America must stop the Marcos Gov’t paying Philippine Debts. For if no debts, America will have no hands against Philippines. It became a threat to them. They were afraid of the great President Marcos capabilities and toughness.
    Philippines may surpass great countries. So, they have to formulate the plot to stop the gov’t.


    The saying goes ‘TAMA NA SOBRA NA KAMI NAMAN’

    FREEDOM IS VERY FREE… that is the irony..




    Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!!

    • anonymus permalink
      December 20, 2011 7:57 am

      Hi Internal Anonymous, Sounds like the symptoms of the economic hitman (watch “zeitgeist addendum” for the economic hitman on youtube). All of these scenarios are very possible but which of them is the most accurate? Any development on the matter yet?

    • August 28, 2013 11:55 am

      To internal anonymous,

      Thank you for the post.

      To all you guys… this is more accurate.

  19. ninoyME permalink
    September 4, 2011 6:23 am

    kakapal ng muka sabihing nag suicide mga tanga!!

  20. August 25, 2012 10:56 am

    was googling “ninoy assassination, marcos threw ashtray at wife” and found this post of yours! thanks for inquirer links, will post sa comments of “ninoy’s killers”

  21. bosS permalink
    August 30, 2012 10:20 am

    I would be happy if the present government will really find ways to reveal the truth about this issue. (Ninoy’s Death)

    Another thing is that during Marcos’ time, I think that he really attempt to make Philippines a very strong and independent country. But because of that, Uncle Sam at that time seemed to panic. U.Sam thought that minds like Makoy could really make something, extraordinary. However, the benefit is not to them.
    For me, a true Filipino patronizes his own. Juan should love his own! Make his own! That meets today’s expectations.

    I always wonder what will be Juan’s achievements today…
    …if, Ninoy was not assasinated…and…
    …if, Juan had let Makoy have his best shot for this Copycat country…
    … to be a MODEL ONE.

    (Sacrifice is a very important part in achieving something.
    We should not worry, because at the end of our lives, there is the Most Fair one that judges us according to what He sees in our hearts.)

    I always wonder….”,) and will always be wondering till my last breath…

  22. alim the wrath permalink
    September 27, 2012 12:51 am

    ask the CIA, they know the answer.

  23. September 20, 2013 7:52 am

    i think danding knows the answer!!

  24. Beata Amor permalink
    September 28, 2014 6:00 pm

    What is actually circulating around us in the urban poor is that Ninoy was too sick and was awaiting to die anyway thus they planned the drama rather than just waiting for his illness to kill him which was according to the doctor he only have 3 mos.

  25. technikos4 permalink
    September 20, 2016 7:26 am

    There was a standing order to kill Ninoy when he arrived in the Philippines. The standing order could have been authorized by Marcos only. So Marcos is the person responsible for killing Ninoy. Besides, Ninoy was killed by the Philippine military, of which Marcos was Commander-in-Chief at the time.

    Many say that Marcos was not so “stupid” to assassinate Aquino, at least not according the circumstances under which it was executed. If Marcos did not order it, Imelda’s approval would have been sufficient if at the time Marcos was incapacitated. Remember that Imelda wanted to succeed Marcos as president. Marcos at the time was suffering from Lupus, which could have impaired his normal functioning. It could have caused psychosis, seizures, or even coma. It’s more likely, however, that there was simply a standing order, for which Imelda’s approval was not necessary.

  26. John Christian Canda permalink
    March 4, 2018 3:26 am

    The late Atty. Juan David, although anti-Marcos did not believe that the late Ilocano strongman was behind Ninoy’s murder. He said before the Agrava Fact-Finding Board that Marcos saved Ninoy’s life thrice: when Ninoy went on a hunger strike, Marcos ordered his soldiers to feed Ninoy intravenously; Marcos did not approve the military tribunal’s death sentence on Ninoy by musketry; and when Ninoy suffered a heart attack, Marcos had him sent to the Heart Centre.

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