Why didn’t the Aquinos investigate these crimes?

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Yesterday is one of the most significant dates in our post-war history, when two historic, connected events happened, the consequences of which have made up our messy present.

Two dastardly crimes were committed on the same day, August 21; two Aquino presidents, surprisingly or not, despite their huge resources as the country’s chief executive officers, refused to unearth the real masterminds.

One event on August 21, 1971 triggered events that led to the imposition of martial law and the start of Marcos’ 13-year dictatorship. Another, on the same date 12 years later in 1983 triggered events that led to the fall of that dictatorship.

First: The Plaza Miranda bombing on August 21, 1971. Four grenades were hurled at the stage of the Liberal Party’ grand miting de avance, killing nine and wounding 95 others. Many of the party’s leaders and senatorial candidates were seriously injured.

The bombing was blamed on President Ferdinand Marcos, and public opinion believed so. As a result, most of his senatorial and congressional candidates lost in the elections that year, drastically weakening his political strength.

Kept secret for decades, the bombing was gradually unearthed as having been ordered by the Communist Party of the Philippines chairman then, Jose Ma. Sison, and executed by his most inner circle, called the party’s Executive Committee of the Political Bureau. Only Sison’s inner circle—and the brave, young activists who undertook the operation, believing it was for a just cause—knew it was the Communist Party leadership’s operation. Present Communist Party Chairman Benito Tiamzon, as well as everyone in the top leadership now, didn’t know it was Sison’s secret operation.

The motive: In the words used by communist party documents at that time, “to intensify the split within the ruling class” in order to create another “revolutionary flow.” In ordinary language, the bombing would push the opposition Liberal Party and their ruling-class supporters to strike back, even violently, at Marcos. The country would plunge into civil war, which the Communist Party as a very organized and armed force could take advantage of to capture power.

Two earth-shaking crimes on the same day August 21, both blamed on Marcos. Would history have a different take?
Two earth-shaking crimes on the same day August 21, both blamed on Marcos. Would history have a different take?

The Plaza Miranda attack was one of the events that convinced Marcos, and the military establishment, to plan carefully, and eventually impose Martial Law 13 months later.

Marcos, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff Romeo Espino and all other service commanders were convinced that the opposition leader Ninoy Aquino had allied with the communists and their NPA. How else could one explain that he was the only Liberal Party senatorial candidate—and its luminous star even—who was spared from the attack since the grenades were exploded while Ninoy was still far from the Plaza?

Few believed the most commonsensical question then: Why would Marcos, whom even his enemies credited as a brilliant strategist, undertake such an attack that obviously would be blamed on him?

Aquino and the Liberal Party didn’t bother to pursue an investigation into the carnage, and instead roused public opinion against Marcos, as “The Mad Bomber,” even after they took control of the Senate in the elections three months later.

The Assasination
Second, the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. on August 21, 1983. Much of martial-law era growth—as well as those of Latin American countries—in that era was due to massive infusions of foreign debt, which Western banks sourced from Middle East countries, which didn’t know what to do with their dollars after they took control of their oil industry, set up the OPEC, and ended the era of cheap oil.

Because of Westerns banks’ greed, as always, they didn’t bother to check if the countries they got addicted to foreign debt could sustain even just their interest payments. They were shocked to wake up one morning in August 1982 that Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile could no longer keep up with their interest payments, and stopped paying their debts. The first global debt-crisis broke out, pushing up interest rates, and banks refused to throw good money after bad by stopping their short-term lending.

By the start of 1983, we already were feeling the crunch of the debt-crisis, with the peso gradually depreciating to P8.50 to $1.00 from P7.50 to $1.00, and everyone in business, especially the banking community, felt we couldn’t avoid a Latin American kind of debt crisis that would mean a severe economic downturn for us.

Worse was that Marcos’ disease had worsened during this time, and on August 7 had his kidney transplant operation, with his son Bongbong as the donor. According to Juan Ponce Enrile’s biography, Marcos emerged from his bed-ridden state only on August 15.

For the first time in Marcos’ eleven-year strongman rule, there emerged a major chance that his life could abruptly end. And this happened in a period when political and economic instability were building up, and his party sharply divided between the pro-Enrile and pro-Imelda/Fabian Ver factions.

And it was during this time that Ninoy Aquino made moves for his return to the Philippines, his journey which ended with his assassination on August 21, 1983. The assassination triggered events that led to “People Power I’s” overthrow of Marcos in February 1986.

Few believed the most commonsensical question then: Why would Marcos, whom even his enemies credited as a brilliant strategist, undertake such an assassination that obviously would be blamed on him?

Such precision
I find it astonishing that Aquino was killed with such precision, by a single bullet to the head. The habit taught to anyone who uses a gun, is to shoot at least three times, to make sure the target is incapacitated. But that’s probably for amateurs.

I find it astonishing that it was done in broad daylight, even risking so many eyewitnesses (there was only one, the so-called “crying woman”). I find it astonishing that the alleged killer, Rolando Galman, was killed even before Aquino’s body slammed on the tarmac. It was an operation of such precision that I don’t think our race is known for.

As astonishing is the fact that despite 12 years Ninoy’s widow Corazon Aquino and his son Benigno Aquino 3rd wielded the tremendous powers of a Philippine president, they did nothing to unmask the murders’ brains.

How difficult would it have been to fund a crack group of investigators to unearth the truth, especially with 16 officers and soldiers just there in jail convicted by the Sandiganbayan for conspiracy over the murder. Why didn’t the Aquino presidents offer them pardon—and maybe even money to live comfortably abroad—in exchange for identifying the brains of the murder that shaped our history? (Compare that to President Kennedy’s assassination, in which the alleged gunman Oswald was killed a few days later, with no other suspects found.)

The only logical explanation I could think of is that the two Aquino presidents, Cory as early as 1986, were informed by unimpeachable sources—maybe even provided indisputable evidence—who, or what group, was the mastermind of Ninoy’s murder.

But if it were Marcos, why did they not disclose this to the nation and provided the body of evidence, in order to absolutely demonize him beyond any historical revision?

Or was Cory told that if she made public the brains of her husband’s murder, she would be so easily toppled by Enrile’s RAM rebels, so that she just had to suffer quietly, the patriotic thing for her to do. After all, she probably could have been told, her entire narrative of the widow going after her husband’s murderer would collapse if she were to disclose the real mastermind.

There is another question that bothers me a lot. Was it just sheer coincidence that two historic events occurred on the same date?

I wonder. In what would be his death voyage, Aquino arrived in Taipei on August 19, 1983. But he booked his flight to Manila August 21. Was the date of his return to the country some secret message to the dictator, one that only he and Marcos would understand?


This Post Has 47 Comments

  1. Kit

    Proverbs 17:15
    He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.

  2. LF

    Who benefited greatly with Ninoy’s death? We all know the answer.

  3. Horatio

    Ninoy’s assassination was orchestrated by Imelda and Ver.

  4. leva bacgnut

    sa wakas may isang mr tiglao na magaling mag analisa, naniniwala ako sa kanya sapagkat produkto ako ng kabataang barangay na naglingkod ng tapat at yan ay itinatag ng pangulong marcos.

  5. litocruz

    Nothing further than the truth, Mr Tiglao your column is best seller….Although there are some kinks to it that your reader curiosity will perhaps hunger for your column. On the issue of plaza Miranda, you should have interviewed retired living NPA commander.
    On the issue of Ninoy assassination perhaps you can interview living security personnel who perhaps know things cause their main mission was to obey.
    One thing for sure , that Marcos could not have land in the US if he had something to do with the Ninoy assassination.

  6. Pugad

    Thank you Sir.

    I too was taught Marcos was the enemy but then things didnt add up..

    You just spelled them out for me.

    But Oh the yellowtards cannot see the light in this article.

    For them, Cory was the mother ( of thieves) and her son the savior ( rather perpetrator of their cojuangco clan)

  7. dee

    i hope the truth will come out sooner than later. Also hope that people who knew what the real story was; will find great resolve and uprightness to come forward and correct or imply state the true story.–before they succumb their earthly life, and nobody of those succeeding Filipino generations will know.

  8. alvin perez

    i used to believe that marcos had ninoy killed. that was what i believed when i was still in school. but as the years went by and i started watching documentaries and reading articles online, i began to have doubts about the veracity of what i know.

    for a man like marcos to have his nemesis killed in broad daylight, that seems unthinkable. if marcos wanted him dead, then why didn’t marcos just have him executed legally? ninoy had a death sentence, right? but no, marcos had him exiled in boston instead, meaning marcos wanted him alive. otherwise the death sentence could have been carried out.

    i’m also baffled by the aquinos seeming disinterest in proving who the real culprit is. are they contented in just letting the world believe their lie? isn’t that a disservice to the people?
    the people deserve to know the truth instead of the lies that they have inculcated in the minds of every child since 1986. many of us grew believing the lies the yellow cult fed us and to this i am flabbergasted and appalled with them!

    so yeah, i hate the aquinos and i will never believe anything that comes from their filthy pieholes ever again.

    1. Gracious

      As a nation, we need to know the real killer of Ninoy Aquino in order to put the issue to rest. I believe the Aquinos want to remain it unsolved or don’t want to reveal it. Why? It benefits them. They (mother and son) became presidents. They gain the sympathy of the people and materially benefited from it. There is a saying that there are doctors who don’t want their patients to get healed. Why? If you get well, you do not need the doctors anymore.

  9. renz

    Both, MOTHER & SON knew the killer!

    Not MARCOS!

  10. nimrod

    The only logical conclusion is that they already know the mastermind but they don;t want to reveal the persona.

  11. Julio

    The yellowtards should read this article to enlighten them. Abs – cbn, Inquirer, rappler and other yellow lunatics should also stop the yearly documentaries and write ups trying to blame marcos for Ninoys assassination wherein fact it was an obvious cover up. Cory and Pnoy knows that it was not Marcos but they kept silent and let the yellow version continue.

  12. JustConcern

    Unveiling this kind of events somehow confirms my beliefs that there is a conspiracy on the assassination of Ninoy and the throwing of Marcos out in the Palace. Ever since I always doubt for the so called heroes of People Power 1. These are personalities who have hidden agenda on their own and not actually for the country. The same question that kept me confused up to now. The Philippines had been led by two Aquino adminisitration, and yet none of them used their power to divulge in the public who is reponsible in the killing of Ninoy. Are they protecting someone or some groups that could alter the Philippine history? Definitely, there is a connivance behind concealing the true events in the Philippines.

    Thank you again for a wonderful column.

  13. canuto

    Ask the American boy Fidel Ramos. He has been very quiet about this whole thing even though his subordinates at the Phil Constabulary were involved in dealing with Galman prior to the assassination. He knows something we all don’t.

  14. cris

    Mr. Tiglao, I know that you know who is the real mastermind of these events.

  15. Jaime Dela Cruz

    It would seem that my suspicion that Ninoy is nothing but collateral damage to keep the Cojuangcos in the oligarchy is being substantiated by Mr. Tiglao’s article. I now wonder if my other theory that Chavit Singson is to Erap and Danding Cojuangco is to Marcos. Two presidents destroyed by their own supposedly friends.

  16. Aphetsky Lasa

    One night a thief came to rob a mansion. The theft left the master of the house dead. An investigation took place The inspector talked to the housekeepers, who told him that they were surprised not hearing the master’s watchdog bark that night. The fact that the dog did not bark in the presence of the thief led to the inspector’s conclusion that the dog recognized the thief, which did not cause the dog to bark.

    They knew who killed Ninoy. Rolando Galman was just a poor patsy.

  17. Atoy

    Agree, the Aquinos already know the brains behind the two killings. They just dont want the public to know to protect their own interest. I hope,someday SOON, someone reveal the WHOLE TRUtH so our history will have the coorect and complete info.

  18. Kurokuro lang

    I already had those questions since cory overthrown marcos in 1986. I was just 12. Same questions haunted me for the past 6 years when noynoy became president. I believe i just got the answers today. My gosh it took me 29 years to completely connect the dots and break the greatest mystery of the phil history

  19. pablo vergara

    Pusila Pusila. Mga bisaya o bisaya ang bumaril kay Ninoy. Eh sino ba ang bisaya sa mga marcos. e di bat sinampal daw ni Marcos si Imelda sa Maacanag nuon.

  20. alexis leo

    hmmm. i did not know bongbong was marcos’ kidney donor. and seeing that rumors abound that the real bongbong has died. perhaps an ultrasound (KUB) can be made on bongbong to prove he is the real bongbong.

  21. To the Max

    Let us stick with the facts and no hypotheses please:
    1. Pnoy and Cory know who the mastermind is. Being a president, you wield tremendous power.
    2. Per one of the assassins, the brain was Cojuangco.
    3. Marcos was so sick at that time.
    4. Marcos is no stupid to kill Benigno. What the logical action was to put him back to prison.
    5. The figurative head of the government was Cojuangco. Enrile and Ramos are just foot soldiers of the Cojuanco.

    Other opinions are just hearsays. Let us stick with the facts.

    Conclusion based from the facts : Marcos is not the brains of the assassination. The reason Cory refused to pinpoint the Brain is because it was one of her family member. To divulge will just put mud on their faces. Let the people think it was Marcos.

    1. dante

      how will the mastermind knew the bsa jr travel itinerary? tipped by someone(her) who really knew it very well.

    2. Mike B.

      Where are the facts?
      1. This is not fact, it is your opinion
      2. Totally baseless, another opinion
      3. Hearsay
      4. Your opinion
      5. Your opinion

      Sad to say but your Conclusion is your opinion. Let’s keep it that way.

  22. Sainty2k

    “It was an operation of such precision that I don’t think our race is known for”. It is CIA then?

  23. Ecclesiastes

    There is no doubt that the so called crying lady which allegedly saw that it was the military escorts who shot the blabber and hero kuno ninoy aquino is a paid witness. The forensic evidence gathered by the first group of investigators which includes the ballistics of the bullet and the gun used in the crime perfectly matched. The gun used in shooting aquino was a caliber .357 revolver which is not the standard service firearm of the military. The standard firearm of the military is the caliber .45 automatic pistol, so it is not possible that one of the military escorts of aquino shot him. And as shown in the instant photograph, that it is Rolando Galman- the assassin while lying dead in the airport tarmac who has the possession of the firearm used in the shooting…..

    1. RexO

      The crying lady was there, you were evidently not. The military escorts could easily have been given caliber .357 revolvers as part of creating doubt on who the killer is.

  24. Gil

    Truly the Aquino family and their inner circle never ever bothered to unearth the perpetrator of the murder of Ninoy. They were merely contented in playing the emotion and tsismis of the poor wrongly educated Filipinos.

  25. andrew atienza

    Cory and Noynoy knew it, who the master mind was, behind the murder of Ninoy, and because of that murder incident, proclaimed a hero, thereafter, his oligarch widow and elitist son were begifted to be as Presidents of this Republic. There is a saying that some words are better left unsaid, even in the afterlife, a practice that is common among the Chinese.

  26. andrew atienza

    Cory and Noynoy knew it, who the master mind was, behind the murder of Ninoy, and because of that murder incident, proclaimed a hero, thereafter, his oligarch widow and elitist son were begifted to be as Presidents of this Republic. There is a saying that some words are better left said, even in the afterlife, a practice that is common among the Chinese.

  27. Truthbetold

    We all know who shot Lincoln and Reagan. But sadly for Ninoy his name is somebody, soldier, Galamn, Avseco, etc. how can we leave this piece of history unresolved? Does he not deserve closure?

    1. alvin perez

      apparently, for his family, he doesn’t.

  28. tesboy


    1. To the Max

      It will be stupid to say that the Aquinos did not bother to investigate. They knew who the brains was. This is a major traumatic experience for them.

  29. field

    FVR and Enrile are still alive. Before they leave their earthly bodies, they should reveal who was the mastermind of Ninoy’s assassination. They were the heads of PC-INP and Ministry of Defense, and somehow they’ve got some intelligence information who was the real mastermind of the assassination.

    They could have privately asked Gen. Custodio (chief of the Aviation Security Command) and Col. Romeo Ochoco (deputy chief of AVSECOM) why they allowed the civilian Rolando Galman inside the Manila International Airport and who ordered them to do so.

    Before he died, Sgt. Pablo Martinez revealed that it was Col. Ochoco who had ordered him to bring Galman, a tricycle driver and military asset, to the airport on the fateful day Aquino was killed. Among the soldiers convicted and jailed, only Sgt. Martinez knew the plot to assassinate Ninoy.

    Sgt. Martinez also suggested to track down Col. Romeo Ochoco and Capt. Felipe Valerio, and maybe the two could help unlock the mystery of Aquino’s murder, especially Col. Ochoco. Valerio was the leader of the Avsecom team tasked to secure Ninoy Aquino.

  30. Birnvinido Vivo

    Let the world know the truth please copy paste it to your newsfeed and every comment box in all social media worldwide ….Senator Juan Ponce Enrile in his autobiography wrote: “I was the administrator of Martial Law. The powers of Martial law were delegated to me. Any abuse of martial law was my responsibility.”
    (Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir. available at National Bookstore, Fullybooked)
    Fidel Ramos was the Chief of the Philippine Constabulary, during 60s-70s, he was responsible for directing multiple abuses committed by the PC in the provinces, particularly in Samar and Leyte.
    Ramos was the one tasked in the operation and he commanded the torture not Marcos.
    Justice Aurora Recina, then Chairman of the Commissioner on Human Rights, issued a clearance that President Marcos had no record of Human rights violation.
    President Marcos declared Martial Law: in Name, Democracy In Action.
    His Proclamation, General Orders, Presidential Decrees and Letters of Instruction mandate observance of due process and respect for human rights.
    If President Marcos were a Human Rights Violator, his first and foremost victim should have been Ninoy, his arch political enemy.
    But President Marcos saved his Upsilon Fraternity Brother not once, not twice but thrice.
    1. Death by Musketry, President Marcos stopped it.
    2. Death by Hunger Strike President Marcos stopped it.
    3. Death by Heart Attack.
    President Marcos even paid for his heart surgery expenses. Before Ninoy boarded his plane to the U.S., he wrote: “I pray to God that someday when the midst of political controversy disappeared. I shall return to thank you personally.”
    Please read and Share!
    #IsangBansaIsangDiwaIsangGawa #1bansa1diwa1gawa
    He deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. With high honour and respect. Soon to be our national hero…

  31. meeny

    “..who, or what group, was the mastermind of Ninoy’s murder.
    But if it were Marcos, why did they not disclose this to the nation and provided the body of evidence, in order to absolutely demonize him beyond any historical revision?”

    This made me jump at 2AM.If it were really Marcos, the two Aquino Presidents should have moved heaven and earth to pin down and demonize Marcos.

    Mr. Tiglao thank you for this great piece of work. May others, specially the millennials, learn from this. I hope also that one day there will be an investigation that would give closure to the nation.

  32. sep

    pinabayaan nya ang mga kasama nyang liberal nung unang August 21. Nakaligtas sya noon. Pero sa pangalawang August 21, dumating ang karma nya. Buhay ang inutang nya sa unang August 21, buhay ang naging bayad nya sa pangalawang August 21.

  33. Avery_23

    Because they knew it wasn’t Marcos.

  34. Rudi Miranda

    Thank you! Bobbi, but why write dimly? Shoot straight, plain and simple. Some ideas must be difficult to decipher for the young?

    1. Leodegardo Pruna

      The question to ask is who derived the most benefit from the assassination of BSA except the two plus one. To date, one is out, two left and are laughing to the heavens. God bless the Philippines.

  35. Mike B.

    A very interesting twin of events; sinister plots that spy novels are made of. Not even Le Carre’s schoolboy spooks could beat. Pointedly the title of this piece is “Why didn’t the 2 Pres. Aquinos investigate”, or did they and kept it in secret for reasons that up to now would not reap them any benefit. I was told of many “top secret” stories from friends here and there; one of them in detail on how the plot was hatched and implemented by a henchman of Min. Enrile, who was really ready for battle to assume power with his own loyalists from the military. Gen. Ver and Imelda were no match to Enrile’s genius. Their power and influence holds with the strongman Marcos himself, and without him, they are mere lap dogs. Gen. Fidel Ramos for his part was no loyalist to Enrile either, as he himself has dreams of going up there when the late Apo would be gone. A strategist himself, he will not risk plotting the assassination of a forgotten Marcos critic named Ninoy. And Enrile was right to his estimate that the blame would land into the arms of Ver and Imelda. When Marcos came back to his senses after the dialysis, he did confront Gen. Ver and Imelda (perhaps even throwing that famous ashtray to him) to confess. That was when Pres. Marcos realized that the real mastermind was no other than Enrile himself. He had doubts if Gen. Ramos extended a helping hand and he accused both of treason. The rest was history, people sided with Enrile and Ramos to defend “democracy”. Perhaps, Gen. Ramos confided the truth to Cory and helped her during the times Enrile tried to overthrow the Aquino government. The famous Gringo Honassan, a stooge of Enrile, kept the fire burning to save his master.

    1. L A

      Well, there was a time when Johnny and Danding controlled the world’s oil mill industry. While Danding was the face of the local coconut industry, the regulatory agency called Phil Coconut Authority were run by Johnny’s boys. Galman once worked at the night shift at the cement plant owned by Danding. The PC head of Central Luzon at that time owes allegiance to Cojuangco.

    2. Exequiel Caringal

      SIR I was a high school student then when all these things happened, there was a time I happen to encounter this post in the face book about the AVSECOM Van that was used to drive carry Ninoy’s body and the AVSECOM people were those who assisted-and these AVSECOM group is under Enrile’s command and supervision as Min. of Defense at that time at that time I suspect that Enrile has a big part of the so called Ninoy assassination. Your opinion give light to my theory. Ever since I did not believe that Marcos orchestrated the assassination-for simple reason that Ninoy was sentenced to death penalty during the early period of Martial law for treason…

  36. Alejo Rosete

    Thank you Ambassador Tiglao.
    You are a brilliant Journalist – WELL SAID, I BELIEVE YOU.


  37. noy brizuela


  38. Mark Torres

    Why will I die a natural death if I can kill myself to have my wife and son become President.

    Extreme sacrifice of a true and real propagandist!

    And it made me a hero!

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