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youarenotninoy … still

A writer I respect deeply recently wrote of my previous post:

clearly the information is inadequate, therefore the concluson is flawed.

in fact ninoy was one of those “who stayed and lived their lives in constant danger of death”. he was not one of those who fled, like oppositionists heherson and manglapus and maceda a.k.a. “steak commandoes” in america demonstrating against the dictator and martial law from afar. ninoy did not flee to america, he was offered medical treatment in america when his heart began to fail after 7 years and 7 months in jail. and once he was well, he could think of nothing but the homeland and going home, even if it meant going back to his prison cell.

From the iamninoy website, however, we find this:

Ninoy was moved to the Philippine Heart Center, where he suffered another heart attack. Refusing to be treated at the Center for fear of threats on his life, he requested permission to go to the US for treatment or be brought back to his cell.

His request was granted and Ninoy was allowed to go to the US for surgery, together with his entire family. This was arranged after a secret hospital visit by Imelda Marcos. This “emergency leave” was set when Ninoy supposedly agreed to the First Lady’s 2 conditions: that if he leaves, he will return; and while in America, he should not speak out against the Marcos regime.

Ninoy was operated in Dallas, Texas and made a quick recovery. After which, he decided to renounce the agreement saying, “a pact with the devil is no pact at all”.

Note the internal struggle to deal with this awkward part of the mythos. In the second paragraph, the narrative says that Ninoy ‘supposedly’ agreed to the Marcos’ terms. And yet, in the third paragraph, Ninoy himself repudiates the ‘pact.’ One does not repudiate a pact that does not exist.

Nevertheless, even after deciding that his agreement with Marcos was void,

He, Cory and their children started a new life in Massachusetts. He continued to work on two books and gave a series of lectures while on fellowship grants from Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His travels across the US had become opportunities for him to deliver speeches critical of the Marcos government.

Doesn’t that seem at all similar to what the respected writer wrote of manglapus et all?

… oppositionists heherson and manglapus and maceda a.k.a. “steak commandoes” in america demonstrating against the dictator and martial law from afar.

As for ‘being in constant danger of death,’ it’s well documented that Ninoy had profound respect for Marcos’ intellect, and that respect was returned in equal measure. It was a dance between the two, and both knew that neither would do anything to end the dance prematurely. Ninoy had a death sentence that was not carried out; and even with that, he was allowed to run for Congress. Despite imprisonment, I daresay Ninoy’s death at Marcos’ hands was a remote possibility at best. Not like the daily reality that it was for some people.

Ah. But one could argue he was merely waiting for the right time to return, as opposed to manglapus et al who may have been waiting simply for the marcoses to die off. And so, when did the idea of returning become irresistible to ninoy? Again, from the website:

For the next three years in self-imposed exile, Ninoy’s love for his country and countrymen did not diminish but only grew stronger. By beginning of 1983, he was determined to return especially after having heard of the declining political situation in the Philippines, as well as Marcos’ growing health risk due to lupus.

His original intention in coming home was to talk earnestly to Marcos and convince him to restore democracy through peaceful means. Though realizing that this may be futile, it did not stop him from wanting to return knowing that , “I will never be able to forgive myself if I did not at least try.”

Despite orders not to issue him a passport; threatening airlines that they will be denied landing rights if they fly him in; and threats of imprisonment and even death, Aquino persevered insisting that “If it’s my fate to die by an assassin’s bullet, so be it… the Filipino is worth dying for.”

Other accounts are less conflicted about Ninoy’s motivations, but the kernel of truth is there, despite attempts to gloss it over. Ninoy sensed his political opponent weakening, and knew that his time to return was approaching.

Now, looking at this situation without being overly-awed by Ninoy – and cognizant of the fact that Ninoy remained a consummate politician – it can be easily understood that his decision was a political gamble. If he stayed in the States and Marcos died, he would have no claim to power. But if he went home and lived, he would be the next president almost by default. Getting killed, therefore, was a calculated risk.

In fact, Ninoy spared no effort to tell the Philippines – and the world – that he was on his way home. He was, one could argue (if one were able to argue about this topic dispassionately) that Ninoy was setting up a grand homecoming. He knew that if he talked about it enough, there was a chance that Marcos would not have him killed. After all, what idiot would willingly play the role of murderer so craftily prepared by the victim himself? Unfortunately for Ninoy, the smart man he knew would never walk into his trap wasn’t totally in control. Morons were running the show, and morons tend to ignore even traps festooned with neon lights.

And besides, I never said Ninoy didn’t have a strong sense of destiny.

Next, my previous post was quoted thus:

Ninoy Aquino’s death didn’t free us.

We freed ourselves.

In fact, the EDSA revolution wasn’t even about Ninoy, was it? It was about Enrile and Ramos battling their way out of corners they’d found themselves painted into. It was Cardinal Sin who turned it into a Ninoy Aquino lovefest – and to great effect. The soldiers Enrile and Ramos were smart enough to recognize a tactical advantage and were quick to jump on the bandwagon.

What sets him apart from all his peers – people like Tanada and Salonga – is that his death happened at the right time and under the right circumstances that allowed it to be used by US as the seed of OUR revolution. The idea of him being killed by the dictator gave us the focal point we needed for our simmering discontent to boil over into massive mobilization. Except, of course, if Ninoy hadn’t died, he would have succeeded Marcos (prolly) and his feet would be touching the same base clay as Salonga and Tanada, and the discontent would have escaped into the atmosphere as nothing more than so much vented steam.”

This was followed by the question: “if EDSA were about ramos and enrile, why then did enrile not end up the president?”

What my post actually looked like was:

When he returned and died everyone rallied around him as a SYMBOL. And that’s what made him the hero he is today. As heroes go, he is being packaged as a kind of messianic figure – a secular Jesus almost – whose greatest contribution was that his death moved US to fight for our freedom.

Get that right.

Ninoy Aquino’s death didn’t free us.

We freed ourselves.

What sets him apart from all his peers – people like Tanada and Salonga – is that his death happened at the right time and under the right circumstances that allowed it to be used by US as the seed of OUR revolution. The idea of him being killed by the dictator gave us the focal point we needed for our simmering discontent to boil over into massive mobilization. Except, of course, if Ninoy hadn’t died, he would have succeeded Marcos (prolly) and his feet would be touching the same base clay as Salonga and Tanada, and the discontent would have escaped into the atmosphere as nothing more than so much vented steam.

In fact, the EDSA revolution wasn’t even about Ninoy, was it? It was about Enrile and Ramos battling their way out of corners they’d found themselves painted into. It was Cardinal Sin who turned it into a Ninoy Aquino lovefest – and to great effect. The soldiers Enrile and Ramos were smart enough to recognize a tactical advantage and were quick to jump on the bandwagon.

But when the smoke had cleared, the two soldiers parted ways: Enrile clandestinely sought to continue his coopted coup – making the Cory Administration the most coup-bedeviled regime; while Ramos embraced the new order and ended up President.

Notice how the last paragraph was inadvertently omitted? That last paragraph would have answered the enrile question. Enrile didn’t become president because his revolution was coopted; but his subsequent actions clearly indicated that he didn’t enjoy it. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, and all that. When Cory had the people eating out of the palm of her hand, basking in the reflected glory of the Martyr, Enrile knew that it was pointless -possibly even fatal – for him to argue. So he went with the flow. Him and Ramos both. Only Enrile started counter-flowing, while Eddie simply let himself coast with the current. And that’s why Enrile didn’t end up as President.

And as for Ninoy being a humdinger of a President, well, who’s to say?

The Aztecs have a story about twin brothers who were commissioned to create stone calendars for a new temple. The competition was fierce between the brothers as each poured all his craft into the work. On the day of the unveiling, one brother went first. He revealed the Sun Stone, a stone calendar that exists to this day and is still hailed as a high point in Aztec culture.

The other brother’s work – which people called the Moon Stone – however, was lost in the deep lake surrounding Tenochtitlan, the capital city during transport. It was completely covered when i rolled off the causeway and disappeared beneath the waters. No one ever got a chance to see it.

Upon hearing this news, the first brother killed himself, knowing that his work would forever be considered inferior to his brother’s. Nothing tangible, he understood, would ever stand a chance of being better than something that would forever remain in the realm of people’s expectations.

Ninoy, I think, is our Moon Stone.

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5 Responses

  1. Born on 1973 says:

    Wow! I bet you really hate yourself when you see all the Ninoy statues all around the country.

    I can’t imagine someone wearing iamjohnnyenrile shirts.

  2. rom says:

    Born: wow. did you come up with that all by yourself?

  3. Born on 1973 says:

    rom: uhm… no. I had help. I’ m not going to tell you from whom. Na-ah.

    Geez, you must really hate it every time you touch a P500 bill and see Ninoy’s face on it.

    I just hope for your sake they print Enrile’s face on one of our bills.

  4. Edrie says:

    Let’s face it “Born on[sic] 1973,” Ninoy took the opposition’s banner for selfish, politically-motivated reasons. He did not want to be an ordinary Marcos flunkie with his own little barony in Tarlac. Ninoy wanted a bigger share of the power pie than what the dictator was willing to give. It was by being on the side of the opposition that he could get what he wanted.

    Case in point: the dictator and the “hero” were both members of the same fraternity. Prominent members of this same fraternity took prominent positions on both sides of the political fence. If you ask me (and knowing how many of the members of this same fraternity are in power), it smacks of conspiracy (which betrays my nuttiness for that kind of shit but that’s another story). When Ninoy returned, he was expecting the dictator to hand him the keys to the kingdom. Members of the fraternity I have had the privilege of meeting have stated this out loud.

    And, no, he was not killed by the tyrant. Marcos was too smart for that. It was more than likely arrange by Ver and Imelda to make Marcos look bad (the “happy marriage” was a farce) and thereby move the responsibilities of running the country towards the then-first lady’s direction.

    Another case in point: “The Filipino is worth dying for.”

    Good soundbite. Too bad it smacks of melodrama, sentimentality and the messiah complexes common in every Filipino politician. Someone who says something like that is obviously looking out to be a hero and this is why his intentions do not mark him as one.

    The mark of an immature person is how willing he is to die for a cause. Ninoy’s statement is pure puerility.

    It was only his death and his death alone that (barely) redeems him from being your ordinary power-hungry, scheming egomaniac that populate the world of Philippine politics.

  5. rom says:

    Born: LOL! It doesn’t really matter, ya’know? It could be your face on the money, and it’d still feel the same spending it. hahahaha!

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