SPEECH NEVER SPOKEN
SPEECH NEVER SPOKEN
|Avsecom men carry the dead body of Ninoy Aquino while that of Rolando Galman lays dead. These military officers were tried and convicted to suffer life in prison but up to their last they never said who really masterminded the assassination.|
By BERTENI "TOTO" CATALUÑA CAUSING
This is the speech that Benigno Aquino prepared to give upon his return to the Philippines from exile.
He failed to speak this because he was assassinated right upon his descent on the stairs of the plane that brought him from the United States of America. He had a good life in the US but he chose to come home to face sure death. If he were not assassinated, he was to be executed by a firing squad as sentenced by the military tribunal dictated by the dictatorial regime.
His body fell on the pavement right next to the stairs. The body of sacrificial lamb Rolando Galman slumped next to him.
The Ferdinand Edralin Marcos government officially announced it was Galman who shot Ninoy. This was rejected by the people.
The unacceptability of the official findings fueled further the cries for justice, pricking the conscience of the quiet, the naive, the idealist young military officers then led by then Colonel Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, and even the closest allies of Marcos in the persons of then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Philippine Constabulary chief Fidel Valdez Ramos.
This author was still a fourth year civil engineering scholar at the Mindanao State U in Marawi City when he heard over the radio the streaming of "846, the number of truth", Radio Veritas, that was dispatched to Marawi ears by local radio stations in Iligan City.
There was no Facebook, no iPhones, no Yahoo mails, no Google, no Friendsters, no other electronic gadgets that give free-flowing information to the people today. If this happened at this time, the battle could have been won much easier for the people.
Nevertheless, the speech of Ninoy substantially served as the spirit of the fight. He wanted a government founded on justice.
To the mind of the author, there is no other means of erecting a good government but making it stand on the People's Justice System, the Jury Justice System, where it is the people themselves who more directly exercise the power to judge and not the judges, not the prosecutors, not the Ombudsman, not the labor arbiters, not the HLURB hearing officers.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson, jury system is the best tool invented by man to secure the people from tyrannic president or government.
Let's read the speech below.
Arrival Speech of Ninoy Aquino
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.
A death sentence awaits me. Two
more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been
filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.
Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I
hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon
be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting
I could have opted to seek political asylum in
America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino,
to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis. I never sought
not have I been given any assurances, 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
Rather than move forward we have moved backward. The
killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and
the human rights situation has deteriorated.
During the martial
law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for habeas corpus. It is
most ironic after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the
Supreme Court last April ruled it can longer entertain petitions for
habeas corpus for person detained under the Presidential Commitment
Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which
under present circumstances can cover almost anything.
country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and
political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be
surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights
and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.
The Filipino asked for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing
less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935
constitution – the most sacred legacies from the founding fathers.
Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?
The nationwide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a
bloody revolution. There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have
finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must
we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought
forth our republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and
discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?
I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.
So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:
Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a
military tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize.
It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my immediate execution
or set me free.
I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.
National reconciliation and unity can be achieved, but only with
justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can
be no deal with a dictator. No compromise with dictatorship.
In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.
Subversion stems from economic, social, and political causes and will
not be solved by purely military solution: It can be curbed not with
ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of
wealth, more democracy and more freedom.
For the economy to get
going once again, the working man must be given his just and rightful
share or his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the
hope where there is so must uncertainty if not despair.
of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the
words of Archibald Macleish: ‘How shall freedom be defended? By arms
when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by
democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always and
in the final act, by determination and faith.’
I return from
exile and an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer
– faith in our people and faith in God. (1983)