Thursday, August 21, 2003

Remember 21 August 1983

For those who do not remember, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino bought the farm twenty years ago today. He advocated reform in government, most notably in the areas of human rights and social welfare. He was a major thorn in then-president Marcos' side, and would have replaced Marcos had he run for office. That was probably why Ninoy was offed. Maybe Marcos ordered it, or maybe his hatchetman, General Fabian Ver, wanted to do the old strongman a favor; the conspiracy theories are legion, but they are not germane to this entry.

On 21 August 1983, Ninoy walked from his plane, down the metal staircase, and got what counterstrike afficionados gleefuly refer to as a headshot, and was dead before he landed on Philippine tarmac with a sickening thud.

His death pissed off enough people-- I was there when a multitude stopped by historic Santo Domingo Church to pay their respects to Ninoy's remains-- to spark what was supposed to be a revolution, until it was hijacked by his own relatives, as well as Marcos leopards who suddenly changed their spots to pay obeisance to the new dispensation.

I'm glad Gloria had ordered flags to fly at half-mast today. The forgetful Filipino nation owes Ninoy that much at the very least.

...and Justice for All

Gallows Joke:
Challenge: Name five people who don't know the mastermind behind the Aquino slaying.
Response: The Agrava Fact-Finding Commission.

Another item on the Great Big Moral Bill is justice. Justice for Aquino and justice for the rest of us. Twenty years ago somebody shot him and there is still no public record of who it was that ordered him shot. That's a glaring stain on the already muddied records of our agencies of law enforcement.

People are still being evicted for no reason other than that they are "an eyesore." Elsewhere, people are still being allowed to squat on land that isn't rightfully theirs, are still being accorded protection because of the votes they represent.

Marcos hatchetmen and frontmen are still at large, and mostly safe from prosecution. We managed to get the Marcos loot, but we're still some ways off from handing a good sized portion of it to the people whose loved ones disappeared because they were a little too vocal about their dislike for the dead strongman or his policies.

Remember, O ye Forgetful! Rub your faces in it, and let's at least try not to run a democracy that way again.

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