Landing last December at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila brought back memories of Ninoy Aquino himself arriving from the US in 1983 on the tarmac that was to be christened with his blood. He was the leading figure in the opposition to the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines from 1965 until 1986. Aquino had been imprisoned by Marcos for seven years and seven months. His health had suffered; he had been on a hunger strike until his family pleaded with him to stop, had gone to the United States for treatment for a heart condition, and now, hearing that Marcos was seriously ill, and sensing that this was the moment he must act, he was coming back out of self-imposed exile, bearing a false passport under the name Marcial Bonifacio.This return is made most vivid by a TV report, which can be found on YouTube. Ninoy knew that his best chance would be to be placed under house arrest. Next best: back to solitary confinement. The worst option: to be shot then and there. A number of press people accompanied him, and the hope was that their presence might guarantee his immediate safety.
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