Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ninoy Aquino: A Hero? or a Commie?

I had read an article written by Filipino historian Lisandro Claudio that pointed out and presented evidences of Ninoy Aquino's roles and connections to the growth of communism in Central Luzon. Of course, this blog entry is neither a dig nor a response to his article. All I can say is that I don’t want to question the heroism of Ninoy and I am certainly not a supporter of his son, Noynoy Aquino. Anyway, just because we do not like his son, as president, does not mean we will just have to belittle someone who was assassinated because he wanted his country free.

Yes, Ninoy Aquino does have connections with the commies but that does not make him a commie. If you want to be a leader of a country, you have to be open-minded and even listen to the other side not just plain anti-communist. Our country is so backward at the moment because of all this Cold War political mindset entrenched in the Philippine educational system. Even the moderate [legal] lefts who chooses democratic ways (by being elected democratically) to present their grievances to the country are still ignorantly labelled as communists by supposedly educated Filipinos.

Ninoy even once said that he would have probably have done the same (declare martial law) as Marcos if he was the President. What makes Ninoy different from other opposition leaders was that even though, he (Aquino) was part of the elite, he recognized the ills of our society and who were to blame. Of course, Marcos have pretty much share the same view except that the Dictator created his own elites (his cronies) to replaced the traditional land-owning and industrial elites of the country.

Ninoy once describes “the Philippines as a land of traumatic contrasts, a land in which few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. The Philippines is a land where freedom and its blessings are a reality for the minority and an illusion for the many. The Philippines is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy. The Philippines is a land of privilege and rank - a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.... While the Filipinos were depressed and dispirited without purpose and without discipline, sapped of confidence, hope and will. Filipinos profess love of country, but love themselves - individually - more.

Will that statement above make him communist?

NO! Sure it is not a pro-elite view of the country but it certainly a view of a well educated Filipino.

Talking about a well educated Filipino, Doctor José Rizal once said (in his novel, El Filibusterismo):

Our ills we owe to ourselves alone, so let us blame no one
So, while the Filipino people
has not sufficient energy to proclaim, with head erect and bosom bared,
its rights to social life, and to guarantee it with its sacrifices,
with its own blood; while we see our countrymen in private life ashamed
within themselves, hear the voice of conscience roar in rebellion and
protest, yet in public life keep silence or even echo the words of
him who abuses them in order to mock the abused; while we see them
wrap themselves up in their egotism and with a forced smile praise
the most iniquitous actions, begging with their eyes a portion of
the booty
--why grant them liberty? With Spain or without Spain they
would always be the same, and perhaps worse!
Why independence, if the
slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?
And that they will
be such is not to be doubted, for he who submits to tyranny loves it.

Today, those bolded words (of Rizal) above described many Filipinos who admired the lifestyles and luxuries of the Filipino rich elites. Many are even willing to be servants of the upper class just to uplift their prestige and for a slight advancement of their social status (that is they have connections). It is a typical patronage system.

Just as Rizal said, the slaves of his time will be the tyrants of today and he was right. Many Filipinos submit to tyranny and willing to be manipulated while not knowing that rich Filipino elites are oppressing them. The elites and the people that they had manipulated (e.g. the Cold War political mindsets, elite-dominated democracy) were the slaves of Rizal’s time and the tyrants of today. The unholy alliance of the Filipino elites and the manipulated majority gave us the democracy that many enjoyed today. A dysfunctional elitist democracy where the votes of the careless and ignorant majority outnumbered the votes of the thinking minority during every elections. Of course, this does not mean we should junk democracy. It means we should reform our democratic system where political merits and ideologies are more important than popularity and money. Where pro-people does not mean communism, where land reforms are implement not by words or by pen but by actions.

Anyway, Ninoy Aquino’s connections with the communists are true not because he was a commie but because he was open-minded. He understands their grievances more than his colleagues in the upper class. However, as long as political patronage and elite manipulation continue to plague the Philippine society, any politicians who wants to be open-minded just like Ninoy and carry with them pro-people advocacy will be forever condemn as communists in a country where the dark side of democracy rules and entrenches, where slaves of yesteryears where the tyrant rulers of today.

This entry, as I pointed out earlier, is not an attempt to belittle the research work of Filipino historian Lisandro Claudio. His research is a great example of how historians should present their research. Many of our historians in the past tend to bypass the negative/dark side stories of our leaders just to glorify the image of those leaders. Claudio, on the other hand, is different and maybe, the kind of historian that future Filipino historians should emulate.

This blog entry, on the other hand, is to present my view about Ninoy Aquino’s connection to the communist movement. Due to the increasing anti-Noynoy sentiments in the Filipino cyberspace, Lisandro’s research paper [though its not his fault] can serve as a fuel to undermine the current President and even though, I sympathize with some of them, belittling Ninoy’s heroism because of his commie connections does not make them right.

Lisandro himself said that his research sheds more light on how dedicated Ninoy was to the anti-dictatorship cause. It ultimately shows that Aquino would stop at nothing to challenge a morally bankrupt regime that had betrayed the will of the people. 

P.S. Some Filipinos do not support Noynoy Aquino because he rose to Presidency not because of his deeds but because of his parent's deeds. So lets not judge the Noynoy presidency because of what his parent's did in the past but because of what he did today (nothing!). Thats how it should be.


  1. a good read. let us know our heroes! let us educate ourselves even if others are not willing to do so.

  2. Indeed.. we need to learn more about them than what was just written in school textbooks.. textbooks limits everything in order to fit in an entire history in one book..


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