Noy’s long shot: Getting Ninoy’s killers


Says Agrava probe missed some names

Remembering Ninoy. President Aquino III launches the ‘Ninoy My Hero’ exhibit to commemorate the 28th death anniversary of his father, former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., at The Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.

PRESIDENT Aquino yesterday said he is looking at the possibility of running after those involved in the assassination of his father, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., but who were not prosecuted in court.

Aquino, in an ambush interview after the opening of the “Ninoy, My Hero” photo exhibit at the SM Megamall in commemoration of the elder Aquino’s 28th death anniversary, said the prescription period for murder is 20 years but it may not apply to those who have never been arraigned in court.

“Pinaaral ko na lang iyong huling parte…May mga certain lawyers na nagsasabi na iyong mga hindi na-acquire ng jurisdiction ng korte, puwede pa ring kasuhan,” he said.

He said there are still key personalities who were not investigated by the Agrava fact-finding commission and who have already left the country.

Asked whether he knows who his father’s killer was, he said: “I believe I know who… Will we able to prove it at the penultimate level? That’s the issue.”

Sen. Joker Arroyo, executive secretary during President Corazon Aquino’s administration, opined that Ninoy’s assassination will remain an unsolved crime although the people know who are the real suspects in his murder.

Noting that five administrations have already passed with the resolution of the case still nowhere in sight, Arroyo said the conviction and jailing of 16 soldiers for Aquino’s murder is “unfair” and justice has not been served because the mastermind has not been charged.

“Ang mga nasa husgado ay lonely soldiers… iyong mga senior officers eh iyon sumusunod lang ng utos ng mastermind. Who will dare assassinate Ninoy kundi iyong mga may galit, iyong gustong gumanti kay Ninoy… Mga sundalo, di nga nila kilala (si Ninoy)… anong motibo ng mga sundalo? Ang mga mastermind di na-charge. That is the unfairness of it all,” Arroyo said in an interview over dzBB.

He said it would be difficult to reopen the case to find the mastermind as it is now difficult to find any witness. “Ang mga magte-testify wala na. Patay na siguro mga iyon…Wala na iyan, it would remain an unsolved crime. Pero alam naman kung sino ang mga suspects diyan. That’s the tragedy of it.”

Aquino lamented that his predecessor, former president Gloria Arroyo, did not help in providing closure to the case. “Unfortunately the evidence is pointing us only to a certain point. Na-exacerbate ng predecessor na lahat nahusgahan, nagkasala, hindi man lang ma-serve ang term…,” he added.

On Sunday morning, the President and his sisters held a private mass, lunch and prayer for their father. At the exhibit, Aquino led the ribbon-cutting, viewed the photos of his family and the caricatures of his father, and watched the program, which included audiovisual presentations of the late senator Aquino, songs of Edsa 2, and a testimonial of a youth leader about how his life was inspired by Ninoy Aquino. The exhibit will run on Aug. 21-27 at the SM Megamall, after which it will tour other SM malls.

At the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Aquino’s sisters Ditas Aquino-Valdez and Teresa Aquino-Oreta and brother Agapito “Butz” Aquino led the commemoration of Ninoy’s death at the tarmac, where a plaque celebrates his sacrifice at the exact spot where he had fallen in 1983.

Also present at the event were Manila International Airport general manager Jose Honrado, some close friends and foreign dignitaries.

The celebration began with the distribution to the guests of a book on Aquino translated into 23 languages, followed by a Mass and the reading of messages from close friends.

Mrs. Valdez, who flew in from San Francisco, said she still could not stop crying every time this day comes around. “Nakakaiyak pa rin hanggang ngayon ang mga nangyari kay Ninoy,” she said, adding that this is her second time to come home for Ninoy. “I have asked myself many times, is the Filipino worth suffering, or even dying for?”

At the departure level, Aquino family and friends laid a wreath on a bronze silhouette of the fallen Aquino before proceeding to NAIA 3 to repeat the process before Aquino’s bronze bust, inaugurated by his wife during the opening of the controversial terminal. – With Jay Chua

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