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FACT CHECK: FB page falsely claims Ninoy Aquino Jr. as Malaysian

Davao Today

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FACT CHECK: FB page falsely claims Ninoy Aquino Jr. as Malaysian

davao today

During the observance of Ninoy Aquino Day, Facebook page BBM Unite Filipino People posted that the late Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Simeon Aquino Jr. was a “self-proclaimed hero” who is not a Filipino.

CLAIM: During the observance of Ninoy Aquino Day, Facebook page BBM Unite Filipino People posted that the late Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Simeon Aquino Jr. was a “self-proclaimed hero” who is not a Filipino.

It claimed Ninoy is a Malaysian citizen whose name is Martial Bonifacio based on his passport entry in the Philippines on August 21, 1983.

The page’s post included an image of Ninoy with the caption stating his death was due to his political ambition and not for the Filipino people. It further claimed Ninoy was a traitor during World War II and had a hand in the 1968 Plaza Miranda Bombing to topple the government and seize power.

The page also suggested the case of Ninoy’s death was not resolved during the administration of his wife, Corazon Aquino, and his son, Benigno ‘Noy’ Simeon Aquino III, because “they will continue to use it against the Marcoses”. His case was “purposely” not opened because they “know who killed Ninoy”.

BBM Unite Filipino People proposed to remove Ninoy Aquino Day from the country’s list of holidays, saying the late senator is not worthy to be called a hero and that only the Philippines holds a celebration for traitors.

The FB post has garnered 520 reactions, 85 comments, and 46 shares. The page has 105K followers.

RATING: MISSING CONTEXT

FACTS:

Republic Act 9256 signed on July 24, 2007, by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is an Act declaring August 21 of every year as Ninoy Aquino Day, a national non-working holiday, in order to commemorate his death anniversary.

The Philippine Official Gazette described Ninoy as “a prominent Philippine journalist and politician” who served the province of Tarlac as the mayor of Concepcion, provincial vice governor, and provincial governor.

Ninoy was the major political rival of Marcos Sr. when he was a senator of the 7th Congress. He was one of the first to be arrested after the Congress was abolished and martial law was declared in 1972. He underwent military trial and was charged with murder, illegal possession of firearms, and subversion. He was incarcerated for seven years before he was allowed to seek medical treatment in the United States for a heart condition where he remained in exile for three years.

With the hopes of negotiating with the late dictator, Ninoy decided to return to the Philippines amidst protests from family and friends. He obtained a Filipino passport bearing “Marcial Bonifacio” with the help of his friend and former Mindanao Congressman Rashid Lucman. The name Marcial stemmed “from Martial Law” and Bonifacio from “Fort Bonifacio”.

Ninoy was shot dead as he was alighting from the plane before he could set foot on the tarmac. After an investigation, 25 military men were arrested including then Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Fabian Ver. The trial ended with only 16 sentenced to reclusion perpetua on September 28, 1990.

In 1954, Ninoy was appointed as personal emissary to Luis Taruc by President Ramon Magsaysay. As personal emissary, Ninoy aided in the negotiations for Taruc’s unconditional surrender, which earned him the Philippine Legion of Honor, Degree of Commander. He would later serve as executive assistant under the Garcia and Macapagal administrations.

The Plaza Miranda bombing occurred during the political rally of the Liberal Party on August 21, 1971, outside the Quiapo Church in Manila which killed nine and injured nearly a hundred others, including senatorial candidates of the opposition group.

Aquino was not present at the event as he was allegedly at a birthday party with Sen. Doy Laurel and his family in a nearby restaurant. But there’s no concrete evidence proving that his absence meant he was among those who planned the violent attack.

After Marcos was ousted in 1986, another investigation was set up by the new Aquino government. The Supreme Court ruled the previous court proceedings were “a sham” and ordered a new Sandiganbayan trial.

The 16 who were sentenced on Ninoy’s death were Brig. Gen. Luther Custodio, Capt. Romeo Bautista, 2nd Lt. Jesus Castro, Sergeants Claro L. Lat, Arnulfo de Mesa, Filomeno Miranda, Rolando de Guzman, Ernesto Mateo, Rodolfo Desolong, Ruben Aquino, and Arnulfo Artates, Constable Rogelio Moreno (the gunman), M/Sgt. Pablo Martinez (also the alleged gunman), C1C Mario Lazaga, A1C Cordova Estelo, and A1C Felizardo Taran. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision in 1991.

Davao Today is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

This piece is republished with permission from Davao Today.

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