Pardon and (In)justice: Ninoy’s killers freed

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Those who followed the news of the grisly killing of Ninoy Aquino more than two decades ago couldn’t easily believe the freeing the 10 soldiers convicted of the assassination. They never imagined Pres. Gloria Arroyo, in her exercise of executive power pardoned the convicts just as easily as she pardoned Pres. Joseph Estrada of his ignominious crimes.

Released Convicts

ex-Capt. Romeo Bautista
former 2/Lt. Jesus Castro
ex Sgt Ruben Aquino,
ex Sgt Arnulfo de Mesa
ex Sgt Rodolfo Desolong
ex Sgt Arnulfo Artates
ex Sgt Claro Lat
ex Sgt Ernesto Mateo
ex Sgt Filomendo Miranda
ex Constable 1st Class Rogelio Moreno

There was no admission of guilt from the soldiers convicted of Ninoy’s fatal shooting on August 21, 1983 when he arrived in Manila after a three-year exile from United States. The soldiers beholden by military code of silence pointed to Rolando Galman, tagged by the Marcos dictatorship as the communist hitman out to kill Marcos’ chief political opponent. Though the mastermind of the crime was not known nor punished, Pres. Cory Aquino believed it was Marcos who was behind the murder. Upon learning of the pardon, the ailing Ninoy’s widow refused to comment.

Accusing Pres. Arroyo of “abuse of discretion,” Sen. Noynoy Aquino, Ninoy’s son, said “Society has an obligation to transmit a message that if you commit a crime, you must pay for it,..They haven’t owned up to their sin. Why were they freed when they have yet to ask for forgiveness?”

In a reaction, Sen. Francis Pangilinan said that the “sad reality about all this is that only the small fry have been made to suffer….Until the masterminds are known and punished for their dastardly deed, we will never have closure to this brutal murder case.”—Inquirer (03/05/09)

It was for “humanitarian reasons” that the executive clemency was given. Government officials were unmindful of the need to apply the law consistently so as to hammer the message of what crime and punishment must be. They are convinced the killers had suffered enough and they took it upon themselves to decide it’s time to set convicts free. In so doing, they have been dismissive of the injustice endured by the Aquino family, the Galman family, and the nation that Ninoy left behind. (Photo Credit: dead_mullen)=0=

Reynaldo Galman & his mother Lina

Reynaldo Galman, the son of Rolando (believed to be the fall-guy in the Aquino assasination) condemns the pardoning of the 10 convicted killers who continue to point to his father as Ninoy’s murderer. The brains of the Aquino-Galman murders remain unkonwn.

After more than two decades, many of the principal players who could have shed light on the heinous incident are either ailing or have died of natural causes. The 10 soldiers of the Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM) tasked to provide security to Ninoy have upheld the official Marcos story which pointed Rolando Galman as the killer. Many Filipinos think Galman was indeed a fall-guy to cover up for a greater conspiracy to kill.

Reynaldo Galman could only recall his suffering after he lost his father. His mom Lina Galman was abducted by unidentified men and disappeared without a trace soon after the airport murders. He lived as an orphan, became a nurse, then later worked in the Middle East. =0=

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