can’t begrudge kris and noynoy aquino the deep hurt evoked by all the talk issuing from ninoy’s (and rolando galman’s) convicted killers upon their release, to the effect that they were punished unjustly — they were at the airport not to kill ninoy but to protect him from the assassin rolando galman who was hired by boys of danding cojuangco.
to refresh my memory i googled for, and found pcij‘s file of, the sandiganbayan’s ruling on the ninoy assassination. a quick read told me that the soldiers were convicted of the crime based on 1) the trajectory of the fatal bullet, “forward, downward and medially” 2) the testimony of eyewitness rebecca quijano aka the crying lady 3) taped recordings of footsteps going down the narrow stairway that stopped at the 11th [of 15 20] and of the gunshot that followed, and 4) voice analysis of words spoken on their way down the stairs, just before the shot: “ako na ako na op ito na ya op pusila pusila.”
Sgt. Claro M.Lat … uttered the first phrase, “Ako na ‘”,
Sgt. Arnulfo de Mesa uttered phrase, “Ako na”;
Sgt. Claro M. Lat uttered the expression “OP”
Lt. Jesus Castro uttered the phrase, “Ito na”;
CIC Mario Lazaga was the one who uttered the word, “Ya”;
Sgt. Claro M. Lat again uttered the expression again, “OP”;
Lt. Jesus Castro next uttered the word, “Pusila”; and,
CIC Mario Lazaqa uttered the second “Pusila.”
The words uttered and the persons uttering them suggest the scenario that, while Sen Aquino and, the Boarding Party were still descending the bridge stairs, the Boarding Party saw that Rolando Galman had prematurely appeared … the members of the Boarding Party consequently panicked because the sudden appearance of Rolando Galman disrupted their planned synchronized actuations. Obviously, the plan was to make Rolando Galman appear suddenly after the Senator shall have reached the van. … The point is that, at the brink of extreme urgency, the command to shoot was made.
all of which give the lie to the soldiers’ story that ninoy was killed (not on the stairs but) on the tarmac by assassin-for-hire rolando galman who allegedly appeared from nowhere and quickly shot the senator in the head before they could stop him. besides, if what they say were true, what then was that exchange among them on the stairway, “Ako na!” “Ako na!” “Op!” “Ito na!” “Ya!” “Op!” “Pusila!” “Pusila!” all about? and if their job was to keep ninoy alive, why then did they lay him on the tarmac instead of rushing him into the van to get medical help. and where, how, did ninoy get that contusion on the top of his head (revealed in the autopsy) that looked like it was caused by the butt of a gun — inside the van perhaps? one of the soldiers hit him perhaps, for good measure, to make sure he was dead?
suddenly i’m wondering if the freed soldiers are under instructions to “rewrite history,” insist that galman was the killer, who knows, perhaps to discredit danding cojuangco who just happens to be riding very high these days. according to patricio mangubat, cojuangco is true philippine shaker:
San Miguel Corporation, led by former Marcos crony Eduardo Danding Cojuangco just entrenched themselves deeper into Lopez territory. Cojuangco is poised to take over Meralco, the Lopezes’ crown jewel. Analysts say Cojuangco may do this anytime he wants to.
… Aside from the Lopezes, the Ayalas are now being threatened by the rising influence and presence of San Miguel in other industries. San Miguel just joined the telecommunications industry with the acquisition of Liberty Telecommunications and a joint beneficial partnership with Qatar Telecomms. That move made San Miguel easily the second biggest telecommunications firm, eclipsing even Globe Telecommunications. The move was so good and so swift, it left Gerard Ablaza clueless for months
San Miguel also entered the energy sector industry, with the majority takeover of Petron. San Miguel also brought a majority interest in the power generation sector
So, you see, my friends, San Miguel is the biggest business conglomerate in this country, controlling almost all levers of economic life and enjoying the biggest and the widest economic influence not seen since the 19th century.
thing is, in a one-on-one with korina, kris said that her family will never believe that her uncle danding had anything to do with ninoy’s killing, anong mapapala niya, hindi naman siya presidente noon.
it would seem that kris has no idea that danding had a lot to lose if ninoy’s dream of rallying the opposition to end the marcos regime had been allowed to prosper. it would seem that kris has no sense of how powerful danding was and how close he and president marcos were, as in BFF, all the while that her dad was wasting away in jail for continuing to denounce martial law.
At the height of cronyism in the Philippines, Cojuangco controlled $1.5 billion in corporate assets, an amount estimated to equal 25% of the country’s GNP. He headed an agricultural and industrial conglomerate with interests in diverse areas as coconut, sugar, agri-business, banking, and a host of others. The *Wall Street Journal* observed that Cojuangco attempted to create “cartels in rice, sugar, flour, groceries, and soft drinks but ran out of time.” Referring to Cojuangco’s tendency to create monopolies in the industries where he had investments, a journalist gave him the nickname Pacman, a reference to the computer game where the object is to eat up as much as you can. Cojuangco’s personal net worth was estimated at $500 million, making him among the country’s richest men. [page 217 Some Are Smarter Than Others by Ricardo Manlapat 1991]
at the time of ninoy’s homecoming, president marcos was believed to be on his deathbed after a failed kidney transplant. imelda was all set to succeed him, with ver’s support, but not if enrile and his reformist officers could stop them, like by mounting a coup, most probably with cojuangco’s support. ninoy came home precisely to offer the nation an alternative to ver and enrile.
my personal appreciation of danding’s great clout in the time of marcos comes from how he figured in the story of EDSA 1986. marcos was sick and slow and ver’s orders were not being followed. the one and only time in those four days when marcos forces scored a hit was on the early morning of day 2 sunday when the radio veritas farm in malolos bulacan was destroyed by pc troopers on orders of cojuangco.
NEW MANILA, QUEZON CITY, 10 p.m. [22 Feb.] – Summoned by General Ver, PC Col. Maximo Mejia arrived at businessman Eduardo Cojuangco’s house in Balete Drive where he also found Virgilio de Guzman, elder brother of Brig. Gen. Isidoro de Guzman, Region III Commander. Mejia was told that President Marcos had decided to neutralize the radio station transmitter in Dakila, Malolos. Cojuangco told Mejia that the attack had been cleared by Marcos to “prevent the incident created by the Enrile-Ramos defection from escalating to a bloody one. [Midday Malaya, “FM General Owns Veritas Attack Role,” 20 May ’86]
most telling of all, danding and his family flew into exile with the dictator on the 26th of february.
Ambassador Eduardo (Danding) Cojuangco and his wife, Soledad (Gretchen) were with their immediate family … They had motored [to Clark] all the way from Sison, Pangasinan, to join the president. [page 169 Malacanang to Makiki by ARturo C, Aruiza 1991]
if flight means guilt, what was danding feeling so guilty about that he had to fly off when marcos did? ill-gotten wealth maybe? the ninoy assassination maybe? the destruction of radio veritas maybe?
and then, again, maybe none of the above. but we won’t know unless the aquinos agree to re-open the case and let the chips fall where they may, for a change. we owe it to ninoy. otherwise, kris should just stop with the whining on nationwide tv.
Rebecca Quijano saw that the senator was shot by the military man who was directly behind the Senator while the Senator and he were descending the stairs. Rebecca Quijano’s testimony in this regard is echoed by Jessie Barcelona, Ramon Balang, Olivia Antimano, and Mario Laher, whose testimonies this Court finds likewise as credible.