Post by 49ersfootball on Jun 18, 2020 16:59:32 GMT
Ninoy's last interview
7:41 PM TST, Saturday, August 20th, 1983
Taipei Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan
Ninoy had spent most of the day being interviewed inside his hotel room, the reporters asked about the alleged assassination plot, which he answered with bravura, although-as he was to indicate later-he still believed that the plot was a typical Marcos ploy. "Assassination is part of public service," he told one reporter. "Look what happened to President Reagan. If my fate is to die by an assassin's bullet, so be it. But I cannot be petrified by inaction or fear of assassination & therefore stay in a corner." To a Japanese TV crew, he said: "You have to be very ready with your hand camera, because this action can happen very fast. In a matter of three, four minutes, it could be all over & I may not be able to talk to you again."
He had been in constant contact telephone contact with his family & supporters in the Philippines, & he told another reporter he had received word that he might be "hit" at the airport & that the assassin would be shot in return. "That's why I'm going to wear this," referring to a bullet-proof vest. "But if they hit me in the head, I'm a goner." Through tragically prophetic, it was not so much a premonition as an indication of another rumor he had heard. Still on the eve of an uncertain homecoming, Ninoy seemed to take the death threats more seriously than he had in the past. Max Vanzi, a UPI correspondent, had just arrived from San Francisco with the latest wire story from Manila: General Fabian Ver, Marcos' powerful right-hand man & Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, was quoted as saying that if Aquino arrived in Manila, he would be put back on the plane & returned to his departure point.
Ninoy dimissed Ver's statement as preposterous, laughing at the notion of himself becoming a diplomatic ping-pong ball: Marcos sending him back to Taiwan, Taiwan refusing to accept him & sending him back to Manila. But in the same wire story, Ver also warned that Aquino might be assassinated at the airport. When he heard that, Ninoy's face fell. 'Oh my God!' he muttered. Ver was the Philippine government official Ninoy strongly distrusted the most & rightfully so, describing him as blindly loyal to the President. "Ver is so loyal if Marcos told him to jump from a building, he would salute & say, 'What floor, sir ?'' Ninoy quipped.
Later, when all the reporters had left & Aquino & his brother-in-law Ken Kashiwahara were alone inside the hotel room, he commented that this was the first time Ver had talked publicly about assassination. He voiced another concern. He had just heard from Manila that the opposition leaders would not be allowed to meet him at planeside. He had wanted them there to demonstrate to Marcos that the opposition was united. "That's a bad sign," he said. "What it means is that they're going to play hardball. You know," he added quietly, "the best thing might be if they turn the plane around tomorrow." He still considered assassination only a remote possibility & certainly not at the airport-not with reporters & cameramen accompanying him. Ninoy's biggest concern was also that the Philippine government might stop the plane at the end of the runway & whisk him off to prison where he would be held incommunicado.
Kashiwahara told him of the preparations being made for his Manila homecoming. Leaflets were being distributed at universities, yellow ribbons were being tied to trees (to recall the song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree," about a former prisoner returning home) & a big crowd was expected at the Manila International Airport.
Post by 49ersfootball on Jul 14, 2020 17:03:05 GMT
Chapter 2: Ninoy's final flight to Manila
5:00 AM NST, Sunday, August 21st, 1983
Taipei Grand Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan
[This segment will be divided into 3 different sections]
Ninoy & his brother-in-law Ken Kashiwahara having breakfast inside
hotel room before heading to Manila.
[Part I]: Overnight, Ninoy had only slept for 4 HRS. Up by 5:00 AM Sunday morning, he said his rosary again & called his wife, Cory, in Boston for the last time. She read the Bible to him. He also spoke briefly with his five children & cried. He then sat down & wrote each of them a letter. When his brother-in-law, Ken Kashiwahara arrived in Ninoy's hotel room, Ninoy was his usual exuberant self. Ken was wearing a beige safari shirt similar to the ones he used to wear when he was covering the Vietnam War. Ninoy looked at him & broke out in a huge grin "My God, man, what's that you're wearing ? You look like you're going to cover a war!" Kashiwahara responded "Look at you," he bantered. "What are you, a white knight in shining armor ? & look at that patch ? What does that stand for ? Boy Scouts of America ?"
For a moment, Kashiwahara became serious "Listen," he said. "if they come to get you on the plane, I want you to tell them that your brother-in-law is with you & you want him to go with you." Ninoy agreed.
The mood at breakfast continued to be jovial. He had ordered room service: eggs, bacon & toast. He asked for ketchup, which he poured over his eggs. He always ate his eggs this way. Kashiwahara looked in mock revulsion & said "That's disgusting."
Ninoy talked about the phone call to his wife & said "One regret I have is that Cory has had to suffer so much." Ninoy's political career had kept him away from home a lot & Cory knew there was some risk in his return home, but had stood by him. "You know Kris really wanted to come with me," he continued wistfully. Kris was his 12-year-old daughter & the youngest of his five children. "But I had to tell her 'no'.''
After packing belongings & other things, it was time to leave Taipei for the trip back to Manila.....
Post by 49ersfootball on Jul 29, 2020 21:12:57 GMT
Other tidbits of the TL: Chapter 9: 1.) Investigation into the Aquino assassination 2.) Theories on who wanted Ninoy dead 3.) Ramifications of the Aquino assassination impacting the Philippines 4.) How the Marcoses grapple with the backlash against their long rule 5.) US President Ronald Reagan canceling proposed State Visit to the Philippines