I have not missed so far in remembering the Ninoy martyrdom every August, and in looking back, I have exhorted more or less the basic things that revolve around this day: the iron rule of Marcos, their tight fight, his assassination, and the offspring of his death. It seemed that there is no more to be known for what Ninoy has done.
But in this I was terribly wrong.
Let me relay first what led me to this novel dimension in looking at Ninoy’s martyrdom. I was recently at a small gathering in celebration of a birthday and despite feeling already the alcohol taking a hold of me, I was jerked into consciousness when that single incident happened. One of the attendees fired several rounds from his gun. And I was no more than five feet away from him. He was drunk, for that I could be certain. And he could have missed his target and fired one fatal shot to any of us there. It was the closest that I have been to death. To realize the reality of death is to enable one to prepare for it.
Ninoy was certainly beyond mere such realization. His entire being was prepared to come back, for it was here in the Philippines that the battle must be fought. He could have preached all he wanted in the United States about the ills of a martial law ruled Philippines but it would simply not have been enough. He should wage the battle on Philippine soil.
But then he was firmly aware that his enemies might possibly put a stop to him the moment he returned. And perhaps the thought of death have occupied his mind prior to his trip back. Yes, he wore a bullet-proof vest but he could have done away with it. He has come into grips with death and was, in fact, ready for it already. He could have predicted his own death.
[And personally, the concept of choice dominates this theme of the day. We may come to understand deeper the reality of death. But it still up to us to chart our course towards it: whether we shall choose to have a meaningful death or not. After all, this very existence is a pursuit for the meaning, the purpose of our lives.]
Ninoy shall live in the hearts of those post-EDSA I children who know about the nightmare of the past where they were conceived.