It is the story circulating among Social Manila’s elegant dinner tables that in one lucid moment during her final days of illness at the ICU Intensive Care Unit of the Makati Medical Center, the dying Maria Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco-Aquino finally spoke about the masterminds and the assassins of her husband, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., on that fateful day of 21 August 1983.
The story of Cory in the ICU cannot be verified at present.
However, the truth about the Aquino assassination, if and when it is finally made public, is eagerly awaited by millions and millions of Filipinos around the world.
With the recent passing of former President Maria Corazon “Cory” Cojuangco-Aquino, and as the 26th anniversary of that fateful day of 21 August 1983 fast approaches, One important question still looms in the minds of millions and millions of Filipinos just like you and I, here in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world…
WHO HAD NINOY AQUINO KILLED???
OK, OK, OK, President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos said that Rolando “Lando” Galman, whoever he was, did it. Poor Rolando Galman. They just fattened him for the kill, like “lechon.” They didn’t even have the decency to fix him up for his final “one moment in time” press kit — no makeup artist, no hairdresser, no tailor, no society photographer. Well, at least he had his fifteen minutes of fame, or notoriety, whichever. I believe that Rolando Galman killed Ninoy Aquino as much as Yosemite Sam killed Daffy Duck in the “Merrie Melodies” cartoons.
But I do believe that President Ferdinand Marcos was far too intelligent, much too brilliant, and way too prescient to have ordered Ninoy Aquino’s assassination. One must never forget that he was the ultimate master of the Filipino psyche. Unless he was having a “stupid moment” and saying “What was I thinking?” which all humans have at some points of their lives anyway.
On the other hand, there is the persistent story that upon finally being informed of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino at the MIA Manila International Airport that afternoon, the already very ill President Ferdinand Marcos hurled an object, usually said to be a vase, towards his First Lady, Imelda Marcos. At that time, it was said that he was not at the Malacanang palace; he was supposed to have been confined at the new Kidney center of the Philippines in Quezon City. Nurses outside the room swore that they heard a breakable object crash to the floor and invectives hurled by the very ill President at both Madame Marcos and General Ver.
There are people, mostly anti-Marcos, who claim that if that story was true, then President Marcos, First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, and General Fabian Ver were just “play-acting”…
Another persistent story, certified true by close Marcos and Romualdez family members, was that upon being informed of the assassination of Ninoy Aquino at the MIA Manila International Airport, the already very ill and very weak President Marcos sat up on his hospital bed, as if from an electric shock, and declared: “Oh no! This is the end! This is the end of all of us!!!”
One of my mentors, the deliciously, wickedly, incorruptibly corrupt Eminence Gris, never fails to remind me that everything boils down to MONEY. “Pera lang yan.” he insists. If one has a question about anything, specially in politics and government, not only in the Philippines but everywhere else in the world, The answer is money. Why did the USA wage war in Iraq? Money. Why did the USA have a financial meltdown? Money. Why does the USA do business with China? Money. Why did Communist China turn capitalist? Money. Why did Ferdinand Marcos remain as President of the Philippines for 21 years? Money. Why did the USA abandon Ferdinand Marcos and support Corazon Aquino during the EDSA Revolution? Money. Why do we have a never-ending Communist insurgency? Money. Why do we have a never-ending Islamic insurgency in Mindanao? Money. Why do all those candidates — Manny Villar, Mar Roxas, Gilbert Teodoro, Chiz Escudero, Loren Legarda, Jamby Madrigal, Bayani Fernando, Jejomar Binay, et. al. — want to become the President of the Philippines in 2010? Money.
Why was Ninoy Aquino killed??? Because of money.
In the study of this 26 year-old mystery case, the crucial question is: Who had the most to lose in terms of money — if Ninoy Aquino returned to the Philippines — before 21 August 1983???
President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos?
First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos?
Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Fabian C. Ver?
Vice Chief of Staff General Fidel V. Ramos?
Defense Minister Juan Ponce-Enrile?
Multimillionaire businessman Benjamin “Kokoy” Trinidad Romualdez, Imelda Marcos’ younger brother?
Multimillionaire businessman Eduardo “Danding” Murphy Cojuangco Jr.?
The CIA Central Intelligence Agency of the United States of America?
The CPP Communist Party of the Philippines / The NPA New People’s Army / Jose Maria Sison?
Years ago, a top official of the Marcos administration, privy to the highest and innermost circles, and yes, almost a “crony,” told me, without revealing anything: “You will have to wait until we are all dead, hijo. Several are still alive and active in national politics and big business. It was very complicated… It was not one, not two, not even three people involved, but several. An entire cast of characters as exciting as a suspense thriller movie. James Bond 007 had nothing to compare! You will be surprised by who was actually involved as well as by who was actually not involved. It was initially planned in a sports facility. The intelligence operatives knew about it. Even I knew it was going to happen. I contemplated sending my family abroad. But what could I do except wait for the moment of damnation… of all of us???”
Moment of damnation indeed.
And the moment of redemption for the Filipino people and their nation.
Post Script: By February of 1985, one year before the EDSA Revolution, the Marcos administration was already faced with tremendous difficulties — including the worsening SLE systemic Lupus erythematosus of President Ferdinand Marcos — to the point that the First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos had quietly requested her family members: “Pray. Please pray and pray hard. For it is all about to end.”