MANILA - "Who do you think masterminded your father's murder? Who do you believe was behind it, and not who shot him?"
This was one of the questions posed to President Aquino during the Foreign Correspondent Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) annual presidential forum in Manila on Tuesday.
Aquino's father, the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was killed on the tarmac at the Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983. He was shot in the head while being escorted outside the aircraft by several soldiers. A lone gunman, Rolando Galman, was also killed and blamed for the murder.
The Sandiganbayan later handed out convictions to 16 accused.
During the FOCAP forum, President Aquino said that as Chief Executive and former legislator, he has to be careful about answering questions about who masterminded his father's murder.
He pointed out that his father's killing happened under the dictatorship of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
"The bottomline is - there was a mode of governance existing in our country then that allowed such a thing to happen. And who was the principal author of that mode of governance of turning us into a dictatorship where only one person's interest and one group's interest mattered and everybody else's did not? Where everybody's rights were at the behest of the ruling entity at that point in time?"
"Somebody allowed such a situation to happen. I think that's the least I can say. Somebody allowed it to happen or let the situation develop that led to that situation."
He also said "certain key players" left the country and never returned. "You need these people to produce testimonial evidence in court. One does not want to accuse anybody without the necessary evidence," he said.
The President also noted that there are "revisionists" who are trying to change Philippine history. He said that at one point in time, the Philippine government "became the oppressor and not the servant" of the Filipino people.
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