Just because Filipinos believed for 30 years that Ninoy Aquino is a hero does not mean that can all change. In fact, it already has. Many Filipinos no longer believe Aquino is a “hero”.
Indeed, Roman Catholicism teaches that people who engage in premarital sex will go to hell. That’s been part of Catholic dogma for 2000 years. And yet, all that changed. Today, being a virgin before marriage is more the exception than the rule.
Who’s to say then that the notion that Ninoy Aquino is some sort of “hero” can be forgotten as well? Some folks believe that is not possible.
Proclaiming this obsolete belief in all-caps will not make Ninoy a hero. He was just like any other local mayor or councillor gunned down in Philippines. Only Big Corporate media allied with the Aquinos made people believe he was one.
Aquino supporters are still insisting Ninoy was a hero. No, he was not. A lot of politicians all over the world get gunned down by political rivals. The most famous one was John F Kennedy. The Americans did not make him a hero after his assassination.
The trouble begins when people like former Congressman Teddy Casino presumes to prescribe a preferred line of thinking and put it up as some sort of gospel truth that is not open to challenge…
The fact is, it was the coup d’état organised by then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and then General Fidel Ramos that triggered the protest rally, not Ninoy’s death. If the US government at the time didn’t whisk deposeed President Ferdinand Marcos out of the country and had Marcos used military fire power against the plotters, Cory wouldn’t have been illegitimately installed as President.
Protest rallies were a dime a dozen even before Ninoy died. A former member of the communist movement even claimed Ninoy organised the rallies and provided grenades. The Aquinos and their communist allies use rallies today to the point where these have lost any power to move the public.
Ninoy, for his part, was overrated. His speeches are not even great — which means beyond his “martyrdom” he didn’t leave much of a political legacy nor any significant contribution to thought leadership. Filipinos need to think twice about what they’ve been fed by a small clique of oligarchs over the last 30 years. If they examine the historical record carefully, they will find that it was all just a narrative designed to seal a status quo that served the members of a small but powerful oligarchic clan.
It’s time Filipinos revisit the very notion that Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr is a national “hero”? What exactly did he do that was so heroic? Did he invent a longer-lasting lightbulb? Did he cure cancer? Did he lead an army to victory?
What exactly did Ninoy do?
This, after all, is an age of Marvel superheroes. Filipinos join the rest of the world in being the biggest fans of the products of the wildly-profitable Marvel Universe franchise. One wonders then how the average Spidey fan reconciles the exceptional skills needed to fit the hero criteria applied to showbiz characters and the criteria applied to a country’s “national heroes”.
The actions of heroes, after all, make a difference to the lives of ordinary people. One would be hard-pressed to cite an example of how Aquino’s “heroism” resulted in such an outcome. Are ordinary Filipinos better off after his supposed “martyrdom” at the international airport that now bears his name?
It’s time Filipinos start thinking outside of the square. They should decide whether they should remain fixated on a definition of “hero” concocted by a clan driven more by their oligarchic interests than that of the broader public or ditch that in favour of what REALLY defines a true hero.