smoke’s rom thinks ninoy became a hero only because he was assassinated, that otherwise he would have turned out to be just like any traditional politician with feet of clay.

What does Ninoy actually represent, other than that he was a victim of a dictator (just like hundreds of other public intellectuals, labor leaders, journalists, and so on)?

Kids today don’t know squat about him, or about what he did. His place in our pantheon of heroes was secured for him by the fact that he was assassinated. Prior to that, he was just one of the many who were victimized by the Marcoses. Fine, he was primus inter pares or something, but at the end of the day, I tend to admire more those who stayed and lived their lives in constant danger of death, rather than those who fled.

I mean, Joma is in the Netherlands, isn’t he? And don’t we all laugh at how he runs the communists here by remote control? Well, if you’re being honest about it, that was exactly what Ninoy’s exile was all about.In the meantime that he was gone, people at home were being harassed, hounded into the hills, and getting impoverished by the importunings of the dictator.

The only time he returned was when, according to him, he felt that the time was right to convince Marcos to hand over the reins of government to him in order to prevent the turmoil that would inevitably result when Marcos died and his lieutenants began fighting for their share of empire (kinda like how Alexander’s generals – Ptolemy and all the rest – carved up Alexander’s empire into smaller kingdoms). Sure he braved death, but at least part of that bravery was openly motivated by the will to power. Not very heroic that, eh?”

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.

if he had not been assassinated and had instead succeeded marcos i have no doubt that he would have been creative enough and brave enough -remember, he was much much younger than senators tanada and salonga – to find ways of working out a peaceful settlement of the mindanao problem as well as a more equitable economic system all around (as can be gleaned from his writings) AND with his charisma he would have inspired the nation to unite behind a truly democratic social order.

also rom dares say that edsa wasn’t about ninoy, it was about ramos and enrile.

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.”

if EDSA were about ramos and enrile, why then did enrile not end up the president?

in fact EDSA was about ramos and enrile trying to unseat marcos, replace him with enrile, thus preempting cory, but they failed because the people would have none of it — the people had united behind cory in the snap elections the way they would have united behind ninoy, and when they went to edsa, wearing cory’s colors and waving her flags, it was not just to support ramos and enrile, it was to woo them and the reformist soldiers into serving as cory’s armed forces and helping unseat marcos.

but rom’s right, we are not ninoy. i’d even say he died because we did not deserve him, and we still don’t.


  1. Enrile and Ramos was good as dead and their only way out of a failed coup was to align themselves with Cory thus the unholy alliance came about. What cannot be denied is that their intention was to replace Marcos and not a Cory presidency but they cannot do so as peoples popular support was for Cory. So overwhelming that all the coup attempts failed because they knew that for them to succeed they will have to be worse than Marcos to sustain a military dictatorship.

    It was Ninoy Aquino’s martyrdom that paved the way for the ouster of Marcos and to say that EDSA was an Enrile-Ramos affair is deluded and unfounded.

    Cory’s administration can be likened to sleeping with the enemy, having no choice and with the Marcos created military monster intact and untouchable we just went downhill from thereon.

  2. If Ninoy had become president of the Philippines, I believe that he would more likely been traditional — he has been fully-trained, and ingrained in Ninoy is the art of Philippine politics. After 3 terms in Malacanang, a hero Ninoy would NOT have become.