Metro Manila · Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. (* 27 November 1932, † 21 August 1983)
Former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. is regarded as an icon of Philippine democracy. His assassination in 1983 fueled the opposition to rise up against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, inspiring the first People Power Revolution and installing a new administration.
Benigno Aquino, Jr., fondly referred to as Ninoy, is regarded as an icon of democracy in the Philippines. His assassination in 1983 fueled the masses and opposition leaders to rise up against the Marcos dictatorship three years later. It was in '86 when mass protests with an estimated one to three million participants eventually ended the Marcos regime -a regime marked by oppression of the people and widespread corruption.
Benigno Aquino, Jr. was born in 1932 in Concepcion, Tarlac to a wealthy landowner. When he was only 17 years old, the newspaper Manila Times sent him to report on the Korean War and because of this journalistic venture, the young Ninoy received the Philippine Legion of Honor award from then President Elpidio Quirino.
Following the footsteps of his father, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ninoy made a stellar political career at an early age, becoming mayor of his hometown at age 22, governor of his province before he turned 30 and senator at age 34. As a senator, Aquino built a reputation as a fierce critic of President Marcos. It is interesting to note though that during Ninoy's years of study inside the halls of the University of the Philippines' College of Law, he joined the same fraternity that Marcos is a member of. This little factoid has been the source of a number of conspiracy theories about Ninoy's and Marcos' real relationship.
After the declaration of martial law in 1972, Aquino was among the first to be arrested. He was kept imprisoned for seven years. After suffering a heart attack, he was allowed to get medical treatment in the USA, where he stayed in exile and supported the Philippine opposition through lectures and rallies.
In 1983, Aquino saw the time coming for his return to the Philippines, despite the dangers that might await him. He was shot at the Manila Airport when he was just leaving the airplane that had brought him back home. His death caused unrest in the Philippine capital and resulted to the first EDSA Revolution. His alleged assassin, Rolando Galman, was shot right on the tarmac by Aviation Security Command personnel.
After democracy was re-installed, his wife Cory Aquino became the first Philippine President of the post-Marcos era, the first woman President of the Philippines, and the first female President in Asia. Their son Benigno Aquino III, one of five children produced by Cory and Ninoy's marriage, was president of the country between 2010 and 2016.
Today, Benigno Aquino, Jr. is remembered in many ways: His face, recognizable by his large glasses, is printed on the 500 Peso bill. The Manila Airport also carries his name, and the day of his death -August 21- is an annual public holiday.