Aug 21 – Aquino Assassination
and the Beginning of the End of Marcos
Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. was a Filipino Senator (1967–1972) and a former Governor of Tarlac. Aquino, together with Gerry Roxas and Jovito Salonga, formed the leadership of the opposition to the government of President Ferdinand Marcos. Shortly after the imposition of martial law, he was arrested in 1972 along with other dissidents and incarcerated for seven years. In 1980 Aquino was permitted to travel to the United States for medical treatment following a heart attack. He was assassinated at the Manila International Airport in 1983 upon returning from his self-imposed exile.
His death catapulted his widow, Corazon Aquino, into the political limelight, and prompted her to run for president as member of the UNIDO party in the 1986 snap elections. Marcos was declared the winner amidst allegations of electoral fraud, with Aquino calling for massive civil disobedience actions. Defections from the Armed Forces and the support of the local Catholic hierarchy led to the People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos and secured Aquino’s accession on February 25, 1986.
As President, Aquino oversaw the promulgation of the 1987 Constitution, which limited the powers of the Presidency and re-established the bicameral Congress. She survived seven coup attempts in six years.
Their son, Benigno S. Aquino III, was elected President in 2010.
In Senator Aquino’s honor, the Manila International Airport (MIA) where he was assassinated was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and his image is printed on the 500-peso bill.
August 21, the anniversary of his death, is Ninoy Aquino Day, an annual public holiday in the Philippines.