Ninoy Aquino’s Final Words


Tribute to Ninoy Aquino
An Arnold Barredo Design 2003

Ninoy, we will never forget and I can only pray for such a glorious death. Thanks for the inspiration and you will live in the hearts of every Filipino. We heard your arrival speech loud and clear. We will pass on your memory to the next generation of Filipinos.

ARRIVAL SPEECH by Ninoy Aquino
The prepared speech that was never read

I have returned on my free will to join the ranks of those struggling to restore our rights and freedoms through non-violence.

I seek no confrontation. I only pray and will strive for a genuine national reconciliation founded on justice.

I am prepared for the worst, and have decided against the advice of my mother, my spiritual adviser, many of my tested friends and a few of my most valued political mentors.

A death sentence awaits me. Two more subversion charges, both calling for death penalties, have been filed since I left three years ago and are now pending with the courts.

Three years ago when I left for an emergency heart bypass operation, I hoped and prayed that the rights and freedoms of our people would soon be restored, that living conditions would improve and that blood-letting would stop.

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 not have I been given any 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. According to Gandhi, the willing sacrifice of the innocent is the most powerful answer to insolent tyranny that has yet been conceived by God and man.

Rather than move forward we have moved backward. The killings have increased, the economy has taken a turn for the worse and the human rights situation has deteriorated.

During the martial law period, the Supreme Court heard petitions for habeas corpus. It is most ironic after martial law has allegedly been lifted, that the Supreme Court last April ruled it can longer entertain petitions for habeas corpus for person detained under the Presidential Commitment Order, which covers all so-called national security cases and which under present circumstances can cover almost anything.

The country is far advanced in her times of trouble. Economic, social and political problems bedevil the Filipino. These problems may be surmounted if we are united. But we can be united only if all the rights and freedoms enjoyed before September 21, 1972 are fully restored.

The Filipino asked for nothing more, but will surely accept nothing less, than all the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the 1935 constitution – the most sacred legacies from the founding fathers.

Yes, the Filipino is patient, but there is a limit to his patience. Must we wait until that patience snaps?

The nationwide rebellion is escalating and threatens to explode into a bloody revolution. 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?

I have often wondered how many disputes could have been settled easily had the disputants only dared to define their terms.

So as to leave no room for misunderstanding, I shall define my terms:

Six years ago, I was sentenced to die before a firing squad by a military tribunal whose jurisdiction I steadfastly refused to recognize. It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my immediate execution or set me free.

I was sentenced to die for allegedly being the leading communist leader. I am not a communist, never was and never will be.

National reconciliation and unity can be achieved, but only with justice, including justice for our Muslim and Ifugao brothers. There can be no deal with a dictator. No compromise with dictatorship.

In a revolution there can really be no victors, only victims. We do not have to destroy in order to build.

Subversion stems from economic, social, and political causes and will not be solved by purely military solution: It can be curbed not with ever increasing repression but with a more equitable distribution of wealth, more democracy and more freedom.

For the economy to get going once again, the working man must be given his just and rightful share or his labor, and to the owners and managers must be restored the hope where there is so must uncertainty if not despair.

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 an uncertain future with only determination and faith to offer – faith in our people and faith in God.”

Related Posts/Sites :
The Edsa Revolution Website
a Tribute to Benigno S. Aquino Jr. 1932-1983
The Last Romantic? by Manila Boy

13 thoughts on “Ninoy Aquino’s Final Words

  1. Remember the slogan, “Di ka nag-iisa.” I was in High School when this happened. I still remember because my family was very active in keeping the faith.

  2. Now if only he were still alive to fight for our freedom… freedom from the annoying antics of his youngest daughter! Cory can’t do it but maybe he can.

  3. nakakaiyak naman ang speech nya no? lalo na to: “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”
    what if he lived no? ano kaya nangyari sa atin?

  4. Yeah, I remember yung “Di ka Nag-iisa” na slogan. I guess it is better that he died for the country and we were freed.
    I can only wish for the same opportunity to die for the country. very nice and inspiring story.

  5. I’ve been trying since last night to post my comment on your blog of August 21. I thought that I really must commend you for putting up that tribute to Ninoy and reprinting his ‘arrival’ speech. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for showing that there are indeed Filipinos who have a sense of history and who keep the memories of our heroes (Ninoy, Rizal, Boni, Mabini, alive in our hearts and mind.

  6. I think I was in grade 5 then, and totally clueless. I remember being dragged by my mother, a true-blue Ninoy fanatic but ironically a former Blue Lady, to Sto. Domingo Church for the wake and my father, another Ninoy fanatic, to prayer rallies. I only realized his death’s full impact during the subsequent snap election and the EDSA Revolution. It’s moot to think of what he could have done if he were alive today, but with his death, he gave the biggest gift to the Filipinos—he woke us up from our apathy and united us in the struggle for freedom.

  7. The greatest man ever Ninoy!!
    Thnk you Ninoy!!
    Ng dahil sa kanya namulat ang mga Pilipino, hindi lang sya isang bayani, isa syang tunay na matapang na Pilipno na khit anung manngyari buhay man nga katapat handa nyang ibgay pra lang sa bayan sa sa mga mamayan. The man of wisdom, courage and faith…
    Thank you Ninoy!!!

  8. greetings from abs-cbn publishing! I’m nona from Kris Aquino magazine. May we request permission to print the art of Mr. Arnold Barredo (above) for our next month’s issue. Rest assured that Mr. Barredo will be given proper credits.
    Pls. advice. thank you.

  9. Hi! Can you send the copy of arrival speech of Ninoy Aquino to my e-mail add? Thanks so much!!!!

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