Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A look Back at the Ninoy Funeral

At the eve of the Cory funeral , I look what it was like when Ninoy was shot.   

We were playing basketball in San Agustin (my old school) when  an uncle late to the game  came in and told us Ninoy was shot.
A few days later we were brought to the church where the body was on display. Just like the mother wanted. The body was not touched up or anything. It was this big accumulation of humanity surrounding the church. I distinctly remember a good natured guy in the long snaking line up saying "dalawang bundok nalang" . We ended up getting let in by a friend of mom's and we saw the body.

A few days later for the funeral this much I do remember. The TV stations were about as free (to report)  as the Pravda was in the 1970s. I wonder if you kids can relate to that now. We were there in the streets seeing a lot of people in support of the procession. The lead story that night in what I remember to be GMA 7 was Imelda visited a tree hit by lightning. I am not resorting to exaggeration.

Anyway these are some quick thoughts and I will add some links that augment this in Multiply if I find them





Ninoy Aquino’s ‘Final March’
By Eusebio S. San Diego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:29:00 08/31/2008

Filed Under: Crime, People, Politics
MANILA, Philippines—Twenty-five years ago—on Aug. 31, 1983—the world through the wonders of electronic media witnessed a huge funeral procession that lasted for almost 12 hours.

This event was Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino’s “Final March with the People,” unprecedented in Philippine history and an event that will be forever etched in the minds of those who joined the procession.

When I covered the event for press icon Joe Burgos’ Ang Pahayagang Malaya and Tinig Ng Masa, two of the forerunners of the so-called mosquito press during martial law, I knew I was witnessing at close range history in the making. It was the people’s tribute to a man who bravely faced death to lead the crusade for the restoration of truth, justice, freedom and democracy that were snatched from the Filipinos when martial law was declared on Sept. 21, 1972.

Fateful homecoming

Despite threats and warnings, Ninoy—as he was fondly called by his family, relatives, friends, political colleagues, mass media and the Filipino masses—came home from Boston to the Philippines on Aug. 21, 1983 and was assassinated just a few minutes after he arrived at the international airport, now named in his honor.

Ten days after the treacherous murder of the most charismatic leader of the Opposition against the Marcos dictatorship, his mortal remains would be interred at the Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, Parañaque City.

No less than Jaime Cardinal L. Sin, archbishop of Manila whose birthday also falls on Aug. 31, officiated at the requiem Mass at Sto. Domingo Church on Quezon Avenue in Quezon City. People had gathered as early as 5:30 a.m. to hear Mass on that day.

My wife Elizabeth and I had to go up the 6th floor of the De los Santos building fronting the church to take photographs of a historic event unparalleled in the nation’s history. With us were several members of the local media, foreign press correspondents, nuns and Ninoy sympathizers.

After Mass, Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, widow of the slain senator, and who would, three years later, become the country’s president, delivered a response while youngest child Kris gave a brief speech.

Cory’s response was punctuated by a long reverent silence, followed by thunderous applause while the people were deeply touched when Kris told her father: “I say ‘goodbye’ to you now, Dad. Thanks for all the happiness you have given us.”

From where we stood, we had a full view of Ninoy’s bier as it was placed on a 10-wheeler truck draped with black and bedecked with yellow ribbons, yellow chrysanthemums and sampaguita flowers.

We jotted down the words expressing the people’s sentiments contained in the numerous placards and streamers that mushroomed near the church and its vicinity. To cite just a few: “We love Ninoy … Hindi ka nag-iisa,” “We seek not violence but justice,” “Ninoy Aquino will always stay in our hearts and minds,” and “Justice for Aquino, Justice for All.”

From the moment the funeral march started at past 10 a.m., throngs of people swelled in every corner and intersection, especially in the Mabuhay (formerly Welcome) Rotunda at the boundary of Manila and Quezon City, Quiapo, Liwasang Bonifacio, the old Congress building on P. Burgos Street, Rizal Park, US Embassy, Roxas Boulevard and Osmeña Avenue (formerly South Superhighway). When the procession reached the Magallanes interchange in Makati, the mammoth crowd was estimated as close to 2.5 million.

At the Sucat interchange on South Luzon Expressway, thousands of people were waiting for the arrival of Ninoy until the funeral procession reached the final resting place of the icon of democracy whose famous words before he was assassinated were: “Filipinos are worth dying for!”

Crowd of three million

By the time the procession entered the memorial park, I would estimate that it reached about three million, not including the people who witnessed the passing of the procession in their respective areas. Indeed, it was history in the making!

And these people, with other growing adherents of the ideals of Ninoy Aquino, would almost three years later constitute the People Power Revolution on Feb. 22-25, 1986, that toppled Ferdinand Marcos and installed as president the widow of a man who would be president had martial law not been declared.

But the Edsa revolt is another story to write about.

The author was columnist and editorial board member of Ang Pahayagang Malaya while concurrently serving as editor in chief of Tinig ng Masa, Malaya’s sister daily broadsheet in Filipino, during the martial law regime and the years after the People Power Revolution. He is also the author of the book “Teacher Power.”



katcarneo said...

Imelda visit a tree was the top news? Lol. Those times were really different. A part of me wants to go back in time just to see how things were. When I was a kid I would toy with the idea of travelling back in time and talking with Rizal or stopping Ninoy from getting shot. Now a historic event is taking place in my lifetime and I’m stuck in the office.

Ed Lopez said...

That is definitely one improvement from pre Cory time is the government has less interference. Though I still here stories . I would have written this post anyway but I wrote it when I did because this person thought her school gave her a bad perspective of the whole thing. You dont even have to be logged in to read, shows you how important dialogue is.


Whats scary is the school did a bad job and its up to a bozo like me to give the youth some foundation. hehhehe

Ed Lopez said...


Lot of discussion there should any of you care to see it. Here is preview:


delete reply
leiababe wrote on Aug 4
thank you for sharing this.

"Filipinos are worth dying for"

it's just sad that after all the sacrifices Ninoy made for the country, democracy was restored but we are not liberated from corruption. no thanks to the government.

i was too young to remember the People Power Revolution but i believe it was real.
on the other hand, i still don't regret not supporting EDSA 2. GMA and all the corrupt officials surrounding her are my daily dose of reminder.

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cornholiogogs wrote on Aug 4
I wish I could only describe Erap regime as annoying but he was awful. We did a classic out of the frying pan into the fire scenario . People there wanted him out. Although already having reservations about #2.

delete reply
leiababe wrote on Aug 5
yeah people wanted Erap OUT, but it doesn't mean we wanted Gloria IN.

that's why i chose not to support the movement. i just spent the "no classes" days cramming for my school work.

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cornholiogogs wrote on Aug 5
yes there was a certain arrogance from the start
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crissycname wrote on Aug 5, edited on Aug 5
but it happened already so if it was a mistake... we get the government we deserved... that's what few people wanted at that time and the entire Filipinos paid for it... if only time machine do exist, i wished people could have chosen the lesser evil... but that's what they wanted then, which we can't take back now and has to live with it...