While most Filipinos know the story of the martyrdom of the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., very few are aware of his close connection to Parañaque City. Fewer even know that the airport tarmac where he was killed is within the city’s jurisdiction.
These and other very interesting details were revealed by Parañaque City Mayor Edwin L. Olivarez during Friday(October 24) morning’s groundbreaking ceremonies for a new statue for the late senator, whose assassination on August 31, 1983 proved to be the beginning of the end of the Marcos dictatorship and the eventual resurrection of Philippine democracy.
“Ninoy Aquino died in Parañaque, because the old Manila International Airport, which now bears his name, is within our jurisdiction,” the mayor said. “He is also buried here in Parañaque, at the Manila Memorial Park, and Parañaque is where you find the only major thoroughfare named after him – Ninoy Aquino Avenue.”
It is along Ninoy Aquino Avenue, near Parañaque’s boundary with Pasay City, where Ninoy Aquino’s statue will be built, “to serve as a reminder to our people and all our countrymen about Parañaque’s deep appreciation and respect for Ninoy’s supreme sacrifice,” Mayor Olivarez said.
The mayor also revealed that Ninoy, during his lifetime, used to go to the place of a very close friend in Baclaran, Parañaque, usually after attending Senate sessions. That friend is no other than Dr. Pablo Olivarez, former mayor and father of the incumbent.
“When Ninoy was arrested on September 21, 1972, when Martial Law was declared, among those who was thrown into jail with him in Camp Crame was my father, Dr. Pablo Olivarez, whose only fault was that he was a close friend of the late senator,” Mayor Edwin told the crowd at the groundbreaking which included Dr. Olivarez himself.
“It is only fitting that the people of Parañaque honor Ninoy, who is a dear friend of our city and a true hero of our nation,” Mayor Edwin said. “His statue shall not only be a landmark but shall serve as a constant reminder, especially to our children and our young people, about Ninoy Aquino’s lasting legacy.”
Also during the ceremony, Rep. Eric Olivarez of the city’s 1st district said he has filed a resolution before the House of Representatives seeking to bestow official recognition of the Ninoy Aquino statue in Parañaque. He said the resolution is now in the committee level and is expected to be approved soon.
Mayor Edwin said he expects the statue to be completed by February, in time for the city’s 17th cityhood celebrations. He said he has written a formal letter to President Benigno Aquino III, the late senator’s only son, inviting the President to the unveiling of the statue.