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LIST | 10 things of interest about the assassination of Ninoy Aquino

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1. Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. went by an alias, "Marcial Bonifacio", on his flight home. Wanting to return to the Philippines after his heart operation in the United States, his petition for passport renewal was denied. So, he flew to Singapore and applied for a tourist visa at the Chinese Embassy under that pseudonym.

2. The military created OPLAN BALIKBAYAN supposedly to secure Aquino upon his arrival at the Manila International Airport. More than a thousand military officers and men were involved in the scheme, which would see him escorted from MIA to Fort Bonifacio, where he would be detained. Three phases were involved in the plan: first, the plane would be secured upon landing; second, security at the International Passenger Terminal would be tightened; and third, the welcoming crowd would be contained.

3. Aquino was shot below his left ear, with the bullet exiting through his lower jaw. The characteristics of the wound of entrance indicated that the person who shot him fired at close range.

4. After he was shot, Aquino was thrust "as though he were a sack of rice" into a SWAT van waiting on the tarmac so he could be brought to the hospital. It was probably here that he was struck on the top of the head "with a blunt instrument, possibly the butt of a gun," therefore fracturing his skull. The Sandiganbayan concluded that this was done to make sure he would not survive.

5. Aquino died of "brain laceration and intracranial hemorrhage", according to the autopsy performed less than 10 hours after the incident by Dr. Bienvenido Munoz of the National Bureau of Investigation. Munoz would initially say that the bullet was directed "forward, downward, and medially," but would later do a 180-degree turn upon being cross-examined by the defense at the retrial of the murder, and say that the bullet was actually directed "upward, downward, and medially." The latter statement would seem to support the defense's stand that it was Rolando Galman, standing on the tarmac and pointing upward, who shot Aquino, and not one of Aquino's military escorts as they were descending from the plane.

6. In December 1985, the First Division of the Sandiganbayan, under pressure from the Office of the President, acquitted all 26 accused when it heard the murder case for the first time. The prosecution then petitioned the Supreme Court to review the decision. The court ordered a retrial, saying the first decision was made "with grave and serious infirmities." It was in 1987 when the retrial began.

7. Pelagia Hilario and Lydia Morata, Aquino's co-passengers who "playfully kissed him" on the plane – and presumably the ones usually shown on video recordings of the events prior to the assassination doing the same – will later say that they saw Aquino walking on the tarmac before he was shot in the back of the head, a testimony in favor of the accused military officers. Two other civilians will attest the same. But the testimony of another passenger, "Crying Lady" Rebecca Quijano, would prove more compelling: she said she saw one of the soldier-escorts shoot Aquino as he descended the bridge stairs.

8. C1C Rogelio Moreno was the man who shot Aquino, according to witnesses, as from their positions they saw the man directly behind the Senator shoot him in the nape. Moreno was among Aquino's military escorts, part of the boarding party tasked to secure Aquino and lead him to a vehicle on the way to Fort Bonifacio, where he was to be detained.

9. The trajectory of the fatal bullet, the inconsistencies in the testimonies of the accused, and the fact that Aquino's escorts fled as soon as he was shot, were some of the evidence that disproved the defense's position that it was Rolando Galman, from the tarmac, who killed Aquino.

10. The final Sandiganbayan ruling on the murder quotes Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. Describing Aquino's fall as he was shot at the back of the head, the decision uses lines from the play: "O, what a fall was there, my countrymen! Then you, and I, and all of us fell down, Whilst bloody treason flourish'd over us."

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