In case you haven’t read holiday memo at work: Tomorrow is Ninoy Aquino Day.
This public holiday is on the death anniversary of the late senator and a commemoration of his bravery during Martial Law. It was first declared in 2004 by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Aquino was known for publicly opposing then-president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos, and was even imprisoned for going against the government. On Aug. 21,1983, Aquino decided to go back to the Philippines to challenge Marcos in the upcoming elections. Upon landing, he was assassinated at the Manila International Airport (now known as Ninoy Aquino International Airport) tarmac.
It’s been widely believed that Marcos had him killed, especially since they were opponents and Marcos had control of the military. This event eventually led to the fall of the Marcos regime. In 1984, Aquino’s wife, Cory, became the first female president of the Philippines.
Aside from history books, there had been several movies and documentaries about Martial Law. But if you’re looking for ones focusing on Ninoy Aquino’s life and people talking about how his death started the People Power Revolution, we’ve listed them down below so you can watch them during the holiday.
Ninoy Aquino & the Rise of People Power
Director Tom Coffman compared Ninoy Aquino to the likes of Gandhi and Martin Luther King because of how he “made nonviolence into a method for driving out national dictators and strengthening the cause of democracy.” It’s a close look on the rise of the People Power Revolution based on the personal accounts of those close to Aquino.
A Dangerous Life
This film tells the story of fictional American journalist, Tony O’Neil, who is covering what’s happening during Martial Law. It starts with him witnessing Aquino’s assassination and fleeing from the scene after hearing multiple gunshots, only to find out they didn’t get footage of the incident. It also shows a dramatized version of Aquino’s funeral, how Cory Aquino became president, and director Robert Markowitz’s interpretation of how key historical figures, like Juan Ponce Enrile, acted during ML.
The Assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.
History Channel first aired this documentary in 2010 which sought to investigate who killed Aquino. It showed timelines leading up to the murder, as well as reports related to it. It’s an intriguing look at Aquino’s death which, until now, is a mystery because we still don’t know who actually ordered to have him killed. If you want to watch this, the documentary was uploaded on Dailymotion in five parts.
The Last Journey of Ninoy
Just like The Assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., this documentary recounts Aquino’s activities from Aug. 12, 1983 until the day of his death. This features interviews and commentaries from his wife, Cory. Former senator Bam Aquino also played his late uncle in some dramatizations in the film.
Bonus: To Sing Our Own Song
Narrated by the late lawyer and two-term senator Jose W. Diokno, this 1983 BBC documentary details the violence and human rights abuses committed during Martial Law. Diokno was imprisoned with Aquino because he was also a staunch critic of the Marcos regime. The documentary not only shed light to the heinous crimes during ML, it also showed how Diokno managed to help victims during the Aquino administration.
Screengrab from Ninoy Aquino & the Rise of People Power via YouTube
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