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[Y-SPACE] Reigniting the lost Filipino consciousness on Ninoy

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

By Ronie James P. Indaya

At the time of this writing, it will be exactly one day to the date when the most influential opposition figure of the Marcos regime was silenced in 1983. Almost 4 decades after he died, his influence and the spirit of his martyrdom have diminished from the consciousness of the Filipino people. It is mainly because of the works of the devil’s supporters that tarnished this fact in history and is seeing to succeed with their plot of changing the narrative in favor of the late dictator. No other man’s dignity should be the target, as he is the cause of Marcos’ downfall.

I know nothing more to honor him but to defend his legacy of being the man who led the way to oppose the dictatorship. Honoring Ninoy is also about honoring those he had worked with directly and indirectly, as they were there behind him, beside him, by him, united in that dark past. Filipinos are aware of his past. They are aware of his legacy. Or are they, really? But today, as these fake propagandists continually spread disinformation, many are unfortunately becoming skeptical of Ninoy’s heroism. And this writing seeks to defend him using the shreds of evidence available.

One of the stories that have been circulated against him, was that he was a communist, therefore a traitor to the nationalistic cause. But it is always easy to believe when we do not ferret out sources, if we do not seek clarity. To just shorten my argument to disprove this accusation, Joma Sison, the known founder of the new Communist Party of the Philippines himself, in his interview, denied such. I believe such interview is still available online. And what else remains for him to lie? While there were meetings set between the early CPP and Ninoy, it was rationalized as a way to be united in opposing Marcos as he ransacked the country, both its money and people’s rights, but those meetings never materialized.

Ninoy was not a communist, he was a democratic socialist. He was out to be one. It is even published. No one is hiding the fact that he is a leftist. And why should we condemn him for being such? Liberal democracy, which our country is currently based on, is also left following the spectrum. But to provide clarity and to give you the taste of Ninoy’s political maturity, I share here an excerpt of his political and economic beliefs:

“As I delved deeper into the underlying reasons behind our chronic insurgency problem, I came to a realization: The accepted notions of our capitalistic system must be thoroughly reviewed, some very basic capitalist doctrines must be discarded. I also conclude: The answer does not lie in the extreme solution of communism… I came to accept: Capitalism must be reformed by an ideology that will restore the original balance between economic and political freedom. Capitalism must be corrected by vigorous antimonopoly legislation, supplemented more positively by social welfare and security measures than now exist. Basic economic decisions must be made by the community- the government- and not the private owners of the means of the production. More efficient national economic planning must be adopted to husband our meager resources and bring the greatest good to the greatest number Individual economic independence must be restored under conditions set by the people themselves.”

Ninoy did not only clear himself of the communist issue narrative, but he also proved himself to be more compassionate, who showed a greater understanding of the issues of elite monopoly in the country that required resolve. This is also a slap in the face of those who said that Ninoy, if he became our president, would just restore the old elite order. The man had a vision of what could be the proper steps our country could take that for him were worthy to try.

Ninoy believed that in democracy, political power is a sacred trust that must be held for the benefit of the people. He believed that every citizen must be given equal opportunity for advancement through free, universal, and quality education. “Confidence between the majority and the minority, between the government and the governed, is indispensable to the vitality of a democracy… The democratic world will meet the communist challenge if it upholds and unites on the issue of freedom as the basic element of human survival.”

Ninoy was ready to battle his kind—the rich and the elite, for the sake of this vision. He put importance on freedom to ensure the checks-and-balances, the participation of the people to ensure that they are heard and the role of the state to instill order and justice for the cause. Ninoy is a bigger man, an enlightened man far from our knowledge of him as the same old-same old and traditional politician.

Talking about the issue surrounding his death. There are accusations that his death was a suicide, nothing but a play to trigger people’s anger against Marcos. But the spark that came from the death of Ninoy was unexpected and unprecedented. The personal perception of Ninoy was that people are afraid to fight, so they just enjoy their chains. His ‘tampo’ to the Filipino people was when he was put on the death row, nobody reacted. Some even conspired for him to be pressed. So, why would he orchestrate such a horrible act? In the first place, he knew that it would not inspire change. But he did go back because he wanted to be an example to the Filipino people ‘who loved their chains’ that he was willing to sacrifice everything just for the sake of freedom. Ninoy viewed freedom as a higher price, more than

his life, that we deserve to possess. “What is development without freedom”, and if I may add, will there be development without freedom? When the times that our nation was in peril, just as our founding fathers did, he showed us that we were worthy to be redeemed. And just how saddening is it that we repay him with such an accusation?

Results of investigations written by Hill and Thompson showed that it is possible that Ferdinand Marcos (FM) did not have anything to do with his death due to his terminal ailment as well. That leaves Imelda Marcos, Danding Cojuangco, and Fabian Ver to be the leading masterminds who, in those days, were known to call the shots in government matters as FM was decaying from his illness. When the day would come that Marcos dies, who would inherit the throne? It is logical to conclude that the heirs of Marcos were the ones in the position to be threatened when Ninoy became successful in his resolve. History is open to the lessons of fate; where former dictators and their accomplices go when they are ousted in power. This does not absolve Marcos from the crimes made towards Ninoy. The chaotic Philippines was his doing that led to Ninoy’s and many Filipinos’ demise.

With the much historical data we can get, it all points to the direction that Ninoy was and still is worthy of our admiration. Just the thought of who would substitute his place if given a chance is very hard to discern and decide. I hope that through this, we will be able to appreciate more his sacrifices and those who sacrificed with him. And most importantly to relive his examples. I further hope that when the fateful day of August 21 comes, you will remember him as the man who viewed us as worthy of sacrifice, worth dying for. So, make your life worthy and work for our nation’s future.

Sources and Aid for further reading:

Aquino, Ninoy. Testament from a Prison Cell. Philippines. Philippine Journal Incorporated. March, 1989.

Hill, Gerald, Kathryn Hill and Steve Psinakis. Aquino Assassination. United States of America. Hilltop Publishing Company. 1983

Ronie James P. Indaya, 21-years old, is a fourth-year college student taking up AB Political Science at the Bicol University (BU) College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) in Daraga, Albay. A neophyte writer, a voracious reader, and an avid armchair political historian. He has both the passion and experience of service and leadership. He served as the President of BU CSSP College Student Council from March 2019-May 2021. He was awarded notable recognitions in his schools and was also a volunteer student tutor to out-of-school youths. He has a dog named Gotham.

YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.

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