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April 7, 2009

Two forensic scientists take to task the Supreme Court and former Chief Justice Art Panganiban, on the murder of Ninoy Aquino:

This is in reaction to former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban’s March 15 column.

We are inviting readers, who are curious to find out why the nature of a bone in the skull figures prominently in the Aquino-Galman “double murder,” to read our forensic review of the case: “Death on the Tarmac: The Credible View.” In that report, we painstakingly proved that only Rolando Galman (not any one of the military escorts on the stairway) could have fired, on the tarmac, the shot that killed Ninoy Aquino.

The bone in question is the “Petrous part of the temporal bone.” The bone is so named because it is a hard compact bone, in fact the densest bone of the skull. (“Petrous” as in Peter the Rock, or petrified.)

It is understandable for the former chief justice to defend the Court that blocked the reopening of the case during his tenure as chief justice. He also happens to be the “author” of (or, more correctly, the compiler of essays in) a book titled “The Bio-age Dawns on the Judiciary,” which pompously trumpets to the world that the Philippine judiciary has entered the Modern Age of Science.

But for him and his scientifically uninformed/ misinformed Supreme Court colleagues to insist that what Justice Regino Hermosisima Jr. pontificated on about the Petrous bone (that “it is in fact a mere spongy bone akin to cartilage”), even after the error had been pointed out in our forensic report (copies of which were submitted to and hopefully read by the Supreme Court justices), betrays an obdurate and unforgivable ignorance or irremediable idiocy.

Instead of conferring with Hermosisima, Panganiban could have consulted a standard anatomy textbook or a reputable anatomy professor from a respected medical institution (even from the school where he finished his law degree) for a true enlightenment on the subject. Or more directly, he could have used his fingers to fully measure and feel this bone to find out if it had the consistency, softness and texture of a spongy substance or cartilage.

If Panganiban can cite a textbook or an anatomy professor that describes this bone as a “mere spongy substance, akin to cartilage,” we are willing to have all copies of our report burned.

In every forensic training seminar that we participate in, we never fail to point out that one of the weak pillars of our criminal justice system are judges (at all levels of the judiciary) who are either scientifically uninformed and cannot, or won’t—for (only God knows!) whatever non-judiciary considerations—appreciate the earnest efforts of forensic scientists.

UP associate professor (ret.),
forensic anthropologist;
International Human Rights
forensic consultant

Also, Who  Masterminded Ninoy’s Murder? by Artemio Pangilinan.

This is the Supreme Court resolution that says, sorry guys, it’s not Galman, we can’t be wrong!

Now, someone should hail these scientists for contempt of court.  “… obdurate and unforgivable ignorance or irremediable idiocy”… and “… judges (at all levels of the judiciary) who are either scientifically uninformed and cannot, or won’t—for (only God knows!) whatever non-judiciary considerations—appreciate the earnest efforts of forensic scientists”— hahaha, that’s some mighty loud slaps going left and right on the Mighty Infallibles’ faces until they turn blue, if you ask me.

I wrote So, who the hell killed Ninoy? I said, if indeed, Galman did it, you couldn’t imagine how damning and far-reaching the consequences would be especially to some treasured myths nurtured over the years.  So, rather than  face up to this unbearable truth, we’d better keep the lie.

For another,  aren’t we a nation in worship of the law profession?   (You just take a look at the yearly madness and extravaganza that attend the bar exams and the excessive attention and deference paid to lawyers, no matter if a lawless crook, or to students of law, no matter if  barely able to construct a sentence, let alone, carry an argument— if you do not see a reflection of a crude absurdity in our midst.)    The sciences? In the Philippines, who cares about a scientist if you can have a lawyer in the family? ( Btw, the result of the Bar is just out.  Start counting banners proclaiming to the world, this so and so schmoe just passed the Bar.  I wish they would care to indicate their respective scores so we will truly feel at peace and not assaulted by these).   In the case at bar, why do lawyers care about what the sciences have to say when they very well know they hold most everyone in awe of their “superior” minds?  You get the title Justice appended to your name, won’t your confidence soar a hundredfold more? Panganiban et al could well be saying: “We are the lawyers here,  people.  We hold the key.  Science, my ass!”  And we let it go because lawyers are simply the greatest in these parts and scientists are those smelly, unkempt, unappealing nerdy types clueless about and out of sync with the real world.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 13, 2009 11:29 pm

    In the physical evidences, it somewhat favor the angle that it was indeed the man behind and a little above Ninoy who killed the latter.

    The findings on the trajectory, as well as the big hole in the mandible bone being the exit point, plus the alignment of the entry and exit holes supports the belief that the shooter was a little above and behind Ninoy.

    Unless, Ninoy was looking up while the shot was fired. In that case, the evidence points to Galman as the shooter.

    Nonetheless, Galman used a 357 Magnum. If that was used, Ninoy’s face would have been blown off. But it was not. It was a just a hole that cannot be attributed to a caliber that of 357 magnum.

    More like it’s from a 38 caliber. That again points to the man a little above and behind Ninoy.

    Another is that the testimony of the 5 witnesses who calime dthat THEY SAY the man on the stairs escorting Ninoy fired the shot.

    Also, the finding of Dr. Matsumi Suzuki that, as was gauged from the sounds of the footsteps of Senator Aquino, as the Senator went down the bridge stairs, the shooting of the Senator occurred while the Senator had stepped on the 11th step from the top.

    These support that angle that Galman did not fire the fatal shot but the man a little above and behind Ninoy who was escorting Ninoy.

    With this, i would believe more that the shooter indeed was the escort guy.

    Nonetheless, we are missing one vital point here.


    We must consider the fact that Galman was coerced to kill Ninoy and that they kidnapped his girlfriend just to force Galman into doing it.

    The girl and another woman’s body were later excavated in a shallow grave inside the Cojuangco property.

    So, it might be that Galman will be used as a fall guy and the murder will be blamed on the NPA.

    In this case, Galman himself was a victim here. He would take the role of the fall guy for the real shooters.

    The very questionable thing here is that they court seemed to be suppressing the angle that someone from Ninoy’s family was behind the plot;

    Martinez, in an interview aired Thursday night over ABS-CBN, said he had spoken with Cojuangco’s men involved in the assassination, and that the men had told him that Cojuangco gave them the order.

    “Ang sabi ko sa kanila kasi, ang tanong ko sa kanila, ‘Kanino ba kayo kumuha ng order? Kaninong order ba siya?’ (I told them, I asked them, ‘Where did you get your order? Whose order was it?)” Martinez said in the interview.

    He said the men replied: “Si Danding.” He added that he did not hear Cojuangco issue the order, and that the men’s statement was the only link to the tycoon that he knew about.…_was_mastermind

    My new perception is that it was not Galman who might have killed Ninoy but the military men a little above and behind Ninoy. Galman was supposed to be the fall guy.

    Officers of the AVSECOM knew the plot but the lower rank men did not. In fact, they were told to shut up.

    There was no evidence directly linking Marcos to the plot.

    A strong evidence as stated by Martinez and the circumstancial evidences (cadaver of Galman’s girl) plus the validity of the possible “motive” points to a person other than Marcos.

    The case against Marcos with this Ninoy murder was realized by those mad at him and used it as a rallying point to pin him down completely.

    Then again, this is my limited view on the case based on the infos presented in the articles and news i’ve quoted.

    I am not saying that it is the truth. It’s just my analysis.

    One thing i am so glad about is that the AVSECOM men are finally free.

    By the way, this analysis may change when one can prove that the trajectory was indeed a “upward, downward, and medially” and not a “forward, downward and medially”.

    Also, if one can prove that the entry and exit holes can be attributed to .357 slug then that adds to this angle.


    G.R. Nos. 96027-28 March 08, 2005



  2. April 14, 2009 1:37 am

    [QUOTE]By the way, this analysis may change when one can prove that the trajectory was indeed a “upward, downward, and medially” and not a “forward, downward and medially”.

    Also, if one can prove that the entry and exit holes can be attributed to .357 slug then that adds to this angle.[/QUOTE]
    Let’s examine the skull below;


    1. Frontal sinus
    2. Crista galli
    3. Cribriform plate
    4. Lesser wing of sphenoid
    5. Superior orbital fissure
    6. Superior border of petrous part of temporal bone
    7. Dense shadow of petrous part of temporal bone
    8. Perpendicular plate of the ethmoid
    9. Vomer
    10. Maxillary sinus
    11. Inferior concha
    12. Ramus of mandible
    13. Body of mandible…eton/skull2.htm


    As per this the finding that the trajectory was a “”forward, downward and medially” was correct.

    The dent in the petrous part of the temporal bone was due to the bullet hitting it after the bullet broke through the back of the skull.

    The hitting of the petrous part failed to deflect the trajectory though that’s why the trajectory was still straight and the bullet exited in the mandible. The angle was not enough to deflect the bullet or that the bone tissue was not hard enough to change the trajectory. More likely, the trajectory line’s angle was not enough to deflect the bullet. It simply went through as if it hit nothing.

    This again supports the belief that the shooter was behind and little above Ninoy.

    Unless, of course Ninoy looked up while the shot was fired.

  3. April 15, 2009 6:09 am

    Thank you for sharing.

    The position of the head is certainly vital, even the movements. He could be looking downwards because he was going down a staircase. Or he could be turning his head up sidewards left and right every so often, wary of his own escorts. Or up, skywards looking over the horizon like a conquering hero, who knows?

    But take Sgt Moreno, the guy tagged as the gunman—if indeed he pulled the trigger, how come he seemed to have acted so all by himself, out on a whim, no mastermind but just him acting all alone? This is the gaping hole here. And to explain the dead-end, they slander the soldiers calling them good-for-nothing inveterate liars. Did it ever occur to them, they were telling the truth? Nah! It simply could not be.

    Try the Galman angle and suddenly some doors crack wide open and we see arrows pointing back but will they follow the trail all the way home? Ah, as I was saying, the implications are way too damning, way too much for the “righteous” flock to bear.

  4. benito e.molino,md permalink
    June 1, 2009 6:00 am

    Corrections Are Needed

    Hollow Point Bullet. This bullet fragments upon hitting its target. This was the bullet used by Galman in shooting Ninoy. Upon hitting the left mastoid of Ninoy (behind the left ear) the bullet fragmented in at least 3 major fragments: first fragment went straight UNDEFLECTED – upward,rightward and a little forward- lodging at the upper section of the right temporal bone (THIS IS THE BULLET’S TRAJECTORY- UPWARD,RIGHTWARD AND A LITTLE FORWARD); 2nd fragment went forward,a little upward and more forward in relation to the first fragment,hitting the basal surface of the petrous bone and was deflected downward and forward (take note that the water surface of placid lake could deflect a pebble thrown into it at a narrow angle,I was fond doing this when I was kid;and third much smaller fragment lodge also within the skull.

    If you will say that a worried Ninoy was looking a little back to his escorts when he was shot behind the left ear,and your trajectory is forward and downward,the bullet therefore should somewhere in the vicinity of the right ear,NOT the front area of the lower jaw.

    No Exit Point. The lower anterior section of the mandible was dissected to get the embedded fragment. No bullet fragment exited Ninoy’s head.

    Gun Stippling inside the Left Ear. When a gun is fired at a close range,gunpowder residues (stippling) reached the skin or any surface within the range. Photographs taken during the autopsy of Ninoy showed stippling on the inner surface of his left ear. The skin in front of the left ear also showed stippling. This means that Ninoy was hit at the left side of his head,behind the left ear and NOT at the back of his head. Anybody who says Ninoy was shot at the “back of his head” should back-off a little bit and review his human anatomy,especially the head or better go back to your physics and do forensic experiment on this question of trajectory so that you can have an empirical basis on your claim. If you are damn right,I will retire as a forensic consultant and will request the Supreme Court to remove my name as the first Filipino doctor to whom they cited in their landmark “Writ of Amparo Doctrine” decision in favor of the tortured Manalo brothers.

  5. June 2, 2009 2:24 am

    Thanks for the additional information, Dr. Molino.

  6. August 26, 2012 7:29 am

    and just found this, thanks!

  7. Asher Philippino permalink
    September 29, 2012 2:23 am

    very elucidating. forensic science is indeed iindispensable in the justice system. pag naging judge ako, basics of the subject would be necessary. thanks!

  8. August 21, 2014 4:50 pm

    What happened to these vital forensic findings? Why were they suppressed? Thank you for the enlightenment Dr. Molino.

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