Footnotes to Ninoy Aquino vignettes

Buddy Gomez — Cyberbuddy

Posted at Jan 02 2021 12:37 AM

(Fifth of a series) 

The memory of Ninoy Aquino has been the object of distortion, disinformation and denigration, a very salient component of the revisionist onslaught against Philippine history.

It is generally known that the keyboard mercenary ‘trolletariat,’ the backbone of national deceit, derives impetus and financial compensation from Imelda Marcos, with encouragement and assistance from President Duterte’s access to unaccountable people’s taxes.

BENIGNO AQUINO SR. WAS NOT A MAKAPILI

Aside from the repeated ersatz campaign for removing the faces of Ninoy and Cory from the Five Hundred Peso currency to renaming the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the most egregious is an assault upon the memory of Ninoy’s father—that the late Benigno Aquino Sr. was a traitor during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. He has been maligned and branded as head of the dreaded MAKAPILI. Don Benigno was not! He was the leader of the wartime government-sanctioned political party known as KALIBAPI. KALIBAPI has absolutely nothing to do with MAKAPILI. This is a classic example of maliciously deceptive opinionated ignorance.

Let me put it to rest.

MAKAPILI stands for Makabayang Katipunan ng mga Pilipino or Patriotic Association of Filipinos. It was a militant group organized by the Japanese authorities in 1944 as supposedly a Filipino parallel auxiliary of the Japanese Imperial Army. The Makapilis were notorious as spies who squealed on fellow Filipinos leading to their summary executions. They were our shamefully, homegrown quislings, traitors and collaborators. They were depicted as wearing hoods made of grass bags (bayong) with holes for their eyes, ala the American Ku Klux Klan! They were recruited from the remnants of the pre-war Sakdalistas, a militant peasant movement of the 1930s. The Japanese organized the Makapili because of the Republic of the Philippines’ (under President Jose P. Laurel and National Assembly Speaker Benigno Aquino, Sr.) refusal to declare war against the United States. The Makapili founder and leader was a Benigno Ramos, with the prominent participation of Artemio Ricarte, both avowedly pro-Japanese. Both previously enjoyed exile living in Tokyo.

KALIBAPI stands for Kapisanan ng Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas or Association in Service of the New Philippines. It was organized by the Philippine Executive Commission, the caretaker government headed by Jorge Vargas, as designated by President Manuel L. Quezon. Kalibapi was the sole political party allowed to function under the Japanese dispensation. The party Director General was Benigno Aquino père, who organized the National Assembly (Congress) and served as Speaker. As stated earlier, KALIBAPI has absolutely nothing to do with MAKAPILI!

THE MARTELINOS

In our ‘Jabidah’ blog a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned its central figure, Air Force Major Eduardo “Eddie”/ “Abdul Latiffe” Martelino. I am related to him. In this regard, I have a disclosure to make. He is my mother’s second cousin. Although we met only when he was already under house arrest in Fort William McKinley (now Bonifacio), whose southern expanse included Muslim Bicutan. Eddie is the son of Col. Pastor Martelino, a West Pointer (1920) who was the first Superintendent of the Philippine Military Academy.

Pastor was a first cousin of the first Filipino Archbishop Gabriel Martelino Reyes, slated to have become the first Filipino Cardinal, but for his early demise at age 60, in 1952. My maternal grandmother Anunciacion Martelino was also a first cousin of the Archbshop and the PMA Superintendent. All of them children of Kalibo, Capiz (now Aklan). There were about 70 first cousin Martelinos! Exponentially, my mother and Eddie Marterlino belonged to a generation of second cousins numbering well beyond 300!

NINOY MEMENTOES

In response to our series on Ninoy Aquino, a friend of the hero came forward with the information that Ninoy bequeathed to him the set of photographic equipment, cameras, etc. which Ninoy used as a war correspondent during the Korean War (1949-50) and during his “cloak and dagger” escapade in Sulawesi, Indonesia (1957). His idea was for such mementoes to eventually be put on display in some museum for public appreciation. At this moment, I am unable to identify him without his permission. But on his behalf I will be exploring where and how best to exhibit such significant memorabilia. In time, I hope to be able to report on this future happening.

FALLEN NINOY IMAGE

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Indelibly etched, painfully and disturbingly, in my memory that I am unable to absent from my mind is seeing the manner by which two AVSECOM or Aviation Security Command of the Philippine Air Force soldiers cursorily and desultorily, dragged and lifted by the arms the limp body of the fallen Ninoy Aquino and dumped him at the back of the military van that was parked on the tarmac alongside the China Airlines jet, as though they were perfunctorily and without care hauling a quartered carcass of slaughtered beef cattle! (I used to supervise the Ayala abattoir where the Greenbelt Chapel now stands. Las Arenas Marketing.) I have been painfully disturbed ever since. That vision captured by world television on that fateful afternoon of August 21, 1983 has never left me. It continues to jar me, periodically and sometimes even in my sleep. The vision reignites my unremitting anger at the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos and what he has masterminded!

From his own statements, the Marcosian calculation was that he would be the first suspect if Ninoy were assassinated, it would then therefore be simply such a foolish notion. Meaning, furthermore, that by assassinating Ninoy, they would be the loser. That would not make any sense, so the calculation goes. Nevertheless, to my mind is the fact of twisted hubris and overconfidence, cunningly Mephistophelian, which is the precise reason why the hit was ordered. The question lingers: Who would be the biggest loser, had Ninoy lived? Marcos knew. He knew damn well. Marcos moved for the kill! Imagine, had Ninoy lived!

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A fitting comment elicited by our series, this one from a retired Manila Chronicle journalist and a Facebook friend. Succinct and sincere, Dick Malay says of Ninoy: “A man who could have changed the course of Philippine history toward redemptive greatness!”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Tomas 'Buddy' Gomez III began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.

In 1986, the then Pres. Cory Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.

During the Ramos administration, he was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network.

After government service, he became an ‘OFW’ in the U.S., working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel. He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist.

He is now retired and lives in San Antonio, Texas. 

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.