'Ninoy only wanted to serve country'

By Christina Mendez, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 04 2015 09:26 AM | Updated as of May 04 2015 05:26 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The late senator Benigno ''Ninoy'' Aquino Jr. wanted to help uplift the country's situation during the Marcos dictatorship despite his political differences with the late strongman, former senator Edgardo Angara said during the launching of his biography, ''Edgardo J. Angara: In The Grand Manner,'' recently.

Angara, in one of his narrations, disclosed that Aquino used him as a mediator with then President Ferdinand Marcos while the late senator was in exile in Boston in the 1980s.

“Ninoy told me the Philippines would be bankrupt in two years’ time. He wanted me to convey a message to President Marcos – that he had no more political ambitions, and that he just wanted to help the country,” Angara said.

Angara’s biography was written by Palanca awardee and STAR columnist Jose Dalisay Jr. and published by the University of the Philippines Press.

Two years into exile, Angara noted that Aquino was able to create a network of support for the Philippines.

“Of course, he was critical of Mrs. Marcos and of President Marcos himself, but he emphasized that despite all that, he was willing to help and he wanted me to pass on that message,” he said.

According to Angara, he was able to convey Aquino’s message through then minister Juan Ponce Enrile when the latter accompanied Marcos on a trip to the US.

“Johnny (Enrile) and Ninoy knew each other because he was a lawyer for the Cojuangco family,” he said.

Aquino was assassinated on Aug. 21, 1983 when he returned home from the US.

In the book, Angara said Aquino was shot dead at the airport tarmac by an assassin or assassins “widely presumed and later identified by a government commission to be members of the military.”

Aquino’s death sparked massive protests that culminated in a street revolt that forced Marcos’ departure in February 1986.

Angara also discussed how he tried to mediate between former President Corazon Aquino and Enrile, who had been accused of plotting coups against her administration at the time he was defense chief.

“She asked me to tell Johnny that she wanted to talk to him, and had nothing against him,” Angara said.

The former President sacked Enrile as defense secretary when the so-called “God Save the Queen” coup plot was launched by the Reform the Armed Forces Movement against her administration.

Read more on The Philippine Star