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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.” ― Archibald MacLeish

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it--always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Remembering Ninoy Aquino, August 21 : The Forgotten Hero

The hero and the anti-hero
“It is true I urged our people to boot Mr. Marcos out of office,” Ninoy Aquino wrote. “I warned our people as early as 1968 of Mr. Marcos’ sinister plot to suspend our elections and perpetual himself in power through the declaration of martial rule…

“It is unfortunate that some people hold the belief that to oppose Mr. Marcos is to oppose the State and that opposition to Marcos is tantamount to treason.

“I am against Mr. Marcos. But I am a loyal citizen of the Republic".  Ninoy Aquino
The Fallen Hero 
"I never sought nor have I been given any assurance, or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end, justice will emerge triumphant.
According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man." Ninoy Aquino
Their darkest hour.
"I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through non-violence.
I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.
I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors." Ninoy Aquino
"The light of my life’s dark night."
“My duty, as I see it, is to tell our people that we must not only dream of a good and just society. We must resolve to make this dream come true… Hopefully, with the end of these proceedings, the woman who is the hope and light of my life’s dark night will be delivered from her anxiety and anguish. She has stood by me with an unshakable faith, unruffled and undeterred by the endless humiliation, the abandonment of friends, and the heavy burdens of having to be a teacher, father, mother and provider of my children. She has been the healing oasis in the desert of my prison.

“I wish I had more than one life to give, for even if I had a hundred lives, I would never be able to repay the love and affection bestowed upon me by our great people — to whom, when I was desperate, I confided my despair, and with whom, when I was hopeful, I shared my hopes.  Ninoy
“I Have Fallen In Love With The Same Woman Three Times”
by Ninoy Aquino, Jr.
I have fallen in love
with the same woman three times;
In a day spanning 19 years
of tearful joys and joyful tears.
I loved her first when she was young,
enchanting and vibrant, eternally new.
She was brilliant, fragrant,
and cool as the morning dew.
I fell in love with her the second time;
when first she bore her child and mine
always by my side, the source of my strength,
helping to turn the tide.
But there were candles to burn
the world was my concern;
while our home was her domain.
and the people were mine
while the children were hers to maintain;
So it was in those eighteen years and a day.
’till I was detained; forced in prison to stay.
Suddenly she’s our sole support;
source of comfort,
our wellspring of Hope.
On her shoulders felt the burden of Life.
I fell in love again,
with the same woman the third time.
Looming from the battle,
her courage will never fade
Amidst the hardships she has remained,
undaunted and unafraid.
she is calm and composed,
she is God’s lovely maid.
“Son, the ball is now in your hands.” Dad
“One of these days, when you have completed your studies I am sure you will have the opportunity to visit many countries. And in your travels you will witness a bullfight.

“In Spanish bullfighting as you — now a man — know, the matador is pitted against an angry bull. The man goads the bull to extreme anger and madness. Then a moment comes when the bull, maddened, bleeding and covered with darts, feeling his last moment has come, stops rushing about and grimly turns his face on the man with the scarlet ‘muleta’ and sword. The Spaniards call this ‘the moment of truth.’ This is the climax of the bullfight.

“This afternoon, I have arrived at my own moment of truth. After a lengthy conference with my lawyers, Senators Jovito R. Salonga and Lorenzo Tañada, I made a very crucial and vital decision that will surely affect all our lives: Mommy’s, your sisters’, yours and our entire loved ones as well as mine.

“I have decided not to participate in the proceedings of the Military Commission assigned to try the charges filed against me by the army prosecution staff. As you know, I’ve been charged with illegal possession of firearms, violation of R.A. 1700, otherwise known as the ‘Anti-Subversion Act,’ and murder.

“You are still too young to grasp the full impact of my decision. Briefly, by not participating in the proceedings, I will not be represented by counsel; the prosecution will present its witnesses without any cross examinations; I will not put up any defense; I will remain passive and quiet through the entire trial; and I will merely await the verdict. In as much as it will be a completely one-sided affair, I suppose it is reasonable to expect that the maximum penalty will be given to me. I expect to be sentenced to imprisonment the rest of my natural life, or possible be sent to stand before a firing squad. By adopting the course of action I decided upon this afternoon, I have literally decided to walk into the very jaws of death.

“You may ask: ‘Why did you do it?’

“Son, my decision is an act of conscience. It is an act of protest against the structures of injustice that have been imposed upon our hapless countrymen. Futile and puny as it will surely appear too many, it is last my act to defiance against tyranny and dictatorship.

“You are my only son. You carry my name and the name of my father. I have no material wealth to leave you; I never had time to make money while I was in the hire of our people. For this I am very sorry. I had hopes of building a little nest egg for you. I bought a ranch in Masbate in the hope that after 10 or 15 years, the coconut trees I planted there would yield enough to assure you a modest but comfortable existence. Unfortunately, I had to sell all our properties as I fought battle after political battle as a beleaguered member of the opposition. And after the last battle, I had more obligations than assets.

“The only valuable asset I can bequeath to you now is the name you carry. I have tried my best during my years of public service to keep that name untarnished and respected, unmarked by sorry compromises for expediency. I now pass it on to you, as good, I pray, as when my father, your grandfather, passed it on to me.

“I prepared a statement, which I intended to read before the Military Commission on Monday at the opening of my trial. I hope the commission members will be understanding and kind enough to allow me to read my statement into the record. This may well be my first and only participation in the entire proceedings.

“In this statement I said: Some people suggested that I beg for mercy from the present powers that be. Son, this I cannot do in conscience. I would rather die on my feet with honor, than live on bended knees in shame.

“Your great-grandfather, General Servillano Aquino, was twice condemned to death by both the Spaniards and the American colonizers. Fortunately, he survived both by a twist of fate. Your grandfather, my father, was also imprisoned by the Americans because he loved his people more than he Americans who colonized us. He was finally vindicated. Our ancestors have shared the pains, the sorrows and the anguish of Mother Filipinas when she was in bondage.

“It is a rare privilege for me to join the Motherland in the dark dungeon where she was led back by one of her own sons whom she lavished with love and glory.

“I ended my statement thus: I have chosen to follow my conscience and accept the tyrant’s revenge.

“It takes little effort to stop a tyrant. I have no doubt in the ultimate victory of right over wrong, of good over evil, in the awakening of the Filipino.

“Forgive me for passing unto your young shoulders the great responsibilities for our family. I trust you will love your mother and your sisters and lavish them with the care and protection I would have given them.

“I was barely 15 years old when my father died. His death was my most traumatic experience. I loved and hero-worshipped him so much; I wanted to join him in his grave when he passed away. But as in all sorrows, eventually they are washed away by the rains of time.

“In the coming years, I hope you will study very hard so that you will have a solid foundation on which to build your future. I may no longer be around to give you my fatherly advice. I have asked many of your uncles to help you along should the need arise, and I pray you will have the humility to drink from their fountain of experience.

“Look after your two younger sisters with understanding and affection. Viel and Krissy will need your umbrella of protection for a long time. Krissy is still very young and fate has been most unkind to both of us. Our parting came too soon. Please make up for me. Take care of her as I would have taken care of her with patience and warm affection.

“Finally, stand by your mother as she stood beside me through the buffeting winds of crisis and uncertainties, firm and resolute and uncowed. I pray to God you inherit her indomitable spirit and her rare brand of silent courage.

“I had hopes of introducing you to my friends, showing you the world and guiding you through the maze of survival; I am afraid you will now have to go it alone without your guide.

“The only advice I can give you: Live with honor and follow your conscience.

“There is no greater nation on earth than our Motherland. No greater people than our own. Serve them with all your heart, with all your might and with all your strength.

“Son, the ball is now in your hands.”

Lovingly,
Dad