In commemoration of his death exactly thirty-two years ago, I would like to share some empowering parts of the speech that Ninoy Aquino had planned to deliver upon his return to the Philippines on August 21, 1983.
The speech was not given a voice, was forced to remain undelivered after a bullet was planted in his head leaving his body faced down at the tarmac in Manila International Airport.
I was not able to personally witness Ninoy Aquino live in the podium speaking all his words woven to seek for truth, justice, and freedom for the Filipinos, but oh how I felt the goosebumps quivering through my spine as I eagerly read his delivered speeches one by one, page per page, word per word. Each letter seemed to have been deeply rooted from the depths of his sincerity, even the period and commas mirror compassion to his countrymen.
“I could have opted to seek political asylum in America, but I feel it is my duty, as it is the duty of every Filipino, to suffer with his people especially in time of crisis.”
“I never sought nor have I been given assurances or promise of leniency by the regime. I return voluntarily armed only with a clear conscience and fortified in the faith that in the end justice will emerge triumphant.”
“There is a growing cadre of young Filipinos who have finally come to realize that freedom is never granted, it is taken. Must we relive the agonies and the blood-letting of the past that brought forth our Republic or can we sit down as brothers and sisters and discuss our differences with reason and goodwill?”
How great is the courage of this man to boldly ask the regime to “Order my IMMEDIATE EXECUTION OR SET ME FREE.”
“In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.”
“On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:
“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.” “
“I return from exile and to an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer—faith in our people and faith in God.”
After his death, the People Power Revolution took place, in the leadership of his wife, Corazon Aquino. This paved the way for our countrymen from different walks of life to walk in unison for the freedom that Ninoy had died for.
The decisions and bravery of Ninoy was one of the reasons why we are enjoying this democracy that we have. Personally, I believe that all the speeches that he impudently delivered and this last speech that he was unable to give voice to, is continuously resonating in the lives of the Filipinos who lived both then and now.
written by Kareen Defensor