There is more to Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr. than being the man behind the name of the country’s premiere airport and the face behind the P500 bill, a history teacher said, as the nation commemorates the 33rd death anniversary of former President Aquino’s father today.
Aquino, according to history teacher Jacquiline Maddatu, was an “intelligent senator.”
Maddatu said the youth should emulate Aquino’s courage for standing up for what he thinks is right even when it cost him his life.
“The youth should emulate his courage to speak up and fight for what he thinks would help the country,” she said.
Sen. Aquino served under the 7th Congress and was known as then President Ferdinand Marcos’ political rival. Aquino was among the first to be arrested upon the abolition of Congress and Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law in 1972.
Charged with murder, illegal possession of firearms, and subversion, he was put through military trial. Aquino was jailed for seven years before he was allowed to go to the United States to seek medical intervention for his heart condition.
He returned to the Philippines after three years in exile on August 21, 1983 but was gunned down at the then Manila International Airport. It was later renamed as Ninoy Aquino International Airport by virtue of Republic Act No. 6639 in 1987.
His death sparked public outrage leading to the 1986 People Power Revolution, which gave an end to Marcos’ 20-year rule.
In 2004, then President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria M. Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9256, which declares August 21 every year as “Ninoy Aquino Day” in order to “commemorate the death anniversary of Sen. Ninoy Aquino. It further states that “Ninoy Aquino Day” shall be a national nonworking holiday.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas featured Ninoy and wife Corazon, who became President after Marcos stepped down in 1986, in its new generation R500 bill under the theme “modern-day heroes as champions of democracy.”
(Jaimie Rose R. Aberia)