Two million people joined the funeral march behind Ninoy’s casket in August, 1983.
The Times Journal headline the next day was “One Killed By Lightning At Luneta”. There was not one single mention in the Marcos-controlled media that half the population of Manila teetered between grief and bitter anger.
Confetti poured down on Ayala today, and the old songs are heard again. Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo, Magkaisa, Bayan Ko.
An Aquino’s passing is finally getting media coverage
I remember Louis Beltran’s anecdote. When Marcos let Ninoy home under a fleeting period of house arrest during Ninoy’s seven years and seven months in jail, all the opposition luminaries came to visit. Diokno, Tanada, Roces, Kalaw, etc.
Who, they asked each other, would be the next President after Marcos. They debated long into the night, agreeing only that any successor would be doomed to fail, because resurrecting the fractured, polarized and plundered country was an impossible dream.
Then Cory would come out to serve them coffee and snacks. And they would greet her, and go on with their intense debate on who the next President should be. Little did they know.
Cory, Ninoy and Sin (the Cardinal, who was also mortal 🙂 ) must be laughing their hearts out in that big miting de avance in the sky.
Ninoy came home from exile after nearly 8 years in jail. He knew that he would either be assassinated on arrival, as Imelda warned him repeatedly, or executed for subversion, sedition, and poking fun of Imelda (he was already convicted by a military tribunal).
Yet he still came home.
Before he did, in a 1981 speech in the US, Ninoy said, “I shall dedicate the last drop of my blood to the restoration of freedom and the dismantling of your martial law.”
And he did. Literally.
Watch the rest of that jewel. You will laugh, and you will cry.
And after Cory ran as the next President after Marcos, millions of people shielded ballot boxes with their bodies and stood in front of Marine tanks at EDSA.
No other Filipino leader ever got the mainstream Filipino to repeat that kind of selfless commitment again.
As a commentator said on TV last week, the bullshit meter of the Filipino people is pretty sensitive. They will cynically let you get away with lies to save face, but they will not stake their lives and their families for anyone but the purest leader.
Look again at Mike de Leon’s video, that Jim Paredes of the Apo Hiking Society posted on YouTube some years ago.
The song says it all: “Ang sarap palang maging Pilipino”.
Look for the knot of Mendiola protesters huddling under blasts from water cannons. And yet standing fast.
Look for the RAM soldier in tears, coming out of the MND building, welcomed by millions of people on EDSA, who shielded his ass after Marcos discovered their bungled coup (RAM was later to stage seven bungled coups against Cory, with intent to kill).
Look for the yellow-shirted Filipino bawling like a baby because he is standing in front of a tank revving its engines — and yet he is standing fast.
Ang laki ng utang na loob nating sa mag-asawang Aquino. Ibinigay nila lahat ng maaring nilang ibigay. Kung nagkakagulo pa rin ang bayan natin ngayon, wala na tayong mapagbibintangan kung ‘di ang sarili natin.
Nagtataka ang kabataan sa Ayala kung bakit naluluha ang mga magulang nila, kanina. Nawala sa kanila ang pag-asang natikman nating mga nakakaintindi noong 1986.
Iisa ang bayan natin– wala tayong ibang tatakbuhan. Kung hindi tayo, sino pa ang magmamahal dito? Kung hindi tayo kikilos para ayusin ito ngayon, kailan pa natin aayusin?
Posted from Manila, August 3, 2009