Justice: Aquino-Galman double murder case

jaja.jpg Right-clicked from arkibongbayan.org. Photographer not named.

A lifetime ago (submitted for the prompt
Sentimental” at: 



There’s a piece of wound-up, rusty barbed wire hanging in a corner of the laundry area, I should probably take that down and have it encased in glass and velvet and gold and put a caption on it, it’s my brother’s; he left it with me when he migrated to the States, he and his classmates and thousands of others found themselves at the gateway of Malacañang on February 25, 1986 when Marcos fell, and they tore the barbed wire; he thought that moment was something big, he kept the barbed wire. My sister was with nuns and thousands of students on Recto on February 24, 1986 surging forward at the machine guns, the soldiers had actually cocked their M16’s once; my parents were on EDSA, it was my mother’s birthday, she cooked pancit in large pans everyday during those four days and brought them to EDSA and distributed them to strangers; she likes to cook. You could say my mom cooked for the revolution.


At 7:00 am today from out of the blue I got this rather long “how-are-you-guys” text from a friend who’s still influential in government (as I think) because of friendships; we worked together during the impeachment; i thought it was a rather long and sentimental and non-business non-legal text, uncharacteristic of him, and I wondered what that was all about. He was one of the lawyers who in 1986 helped Cory Aquino and the then opposition during the snap elections. In the precinct where he was assigned, soldiers barged in to seize the ballot boxes, and he and his friends sat on those boxes and then the gun barrels were on their faces; he thought he was going to die there, but he and his lawyer-friends prayed in their heads, stared down the guns, and didn’t budge.


And so this morning, Malacañang, through the Bureau of Prisons, released, by way of  pardon, one of the soldiers who had been convicted for and had admitted participation in the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. on August 21, 1983. The convict had asked for forgiveness but maintained it was Galman who shot Aquino, supposedly on orders of a relative of the Aquino’s.



Painting by Papo de Asis. In memoriam from arkibongbayan.org; right-clicked from their site.


I never looked up who the lawyers were assigned to prosecute this double murder case (murder of Aquino, Galman) 21 years ago; I suppose the regular team of government prosecutors at the Sandiganbayan were assigned then. I know that during the Marcos dictatorship there were dozens and dozens of human rights lawyers who later became active in Cory’s administration; they were probably too busy; those who went back to private practice were also probably too busy. Who was supposed to be in charge of the prosecution? The victims here, as everybody knows, were assassinated in front of the whole world, in front of witnesses, in broad daylight, in the custody of government soldiers. Weren’t there enough concerned lawyers and officials and working people then, after Marcos fell, to see through the finishing-up work? Who was supposed to take care of it, beginning to end? Who was supposed to ensure that it was finished? Was it prudent to leave a case like this to then old team of prosecutors many of whom were probably remnants of the old bureaucracy; i’m sure many of them were professionals and had no political ties; but I just wondered whether they had enough support in prosecuting the case or maybe, yes, they had some commitment but it wore down, as in all things, with time, when there was not enough asking-around, wondering, concern. Or were they were just simply let around to go about their regular business 21 years ago such that this case was never really finished. Not finished because your facts, the “facts of the case”, are not complete and made of official record; not all of the events that transpired that day August 21, 1983, were ever made of record; in an official public record that you could lay down and pass on as a reminder to generations, a message to the future.


People vs. Estrada was finished and that wasn’t for murder; [in my book there’s still a difference between murder and corruption and plunder (assuming no killings were done in the course of the plunder)]; and at least in People vs. Estrada, the buck stopped with the principal accused and convicted (then pardoned); he was the one, nobody ordered him.


I just thought some of us might probably want it stated on record: What were the mission orders given that day August 21, 1983, to those soldiers who were assigned to secure Aquino and then participated in the murder (as the pardoned convict had admitted participation)? How did they position themselves? Who took the shots? Who took care of them, the soldiers, afterwards? Who was the highest civilian officer of the military official who gave the order?


Your president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, gave the pardon without even being curious who the mastermind was.


But who lobbied for this pardon? Who continuously negotiated with Gloria for the release? Who gave and continued to give financial support to and who took care and continue to take care of the families of the convicted soldiers? Who bankrolled the expensive a lã CSI evidentiary ballistic experiments on the trajectory of bullets as a support to campaign for the motion for new trial of the convicted soldiers? Whose lavish birthday party was it that the chief government defense lawyer of the convicted soldiers attended wearing the same party color as the celebrants and exchanging beso-beso with them?

No, your president is not curious or concerned about it, about the mastermind. She knows.


  1. Good day ma’am.
    I was a student of yours in several classes at the CMC and I regularly read your blog postings.
    Your 22 Nov entry says that Marcos fell from power in 1985. Shouldn’t it be 1986?

  2. until now that case is still unsolved?
    who are suppose to be the responsible to re-open that case? but the supreme court did not allow to re-open it anymore!

  3. Good Day, Madame. You need to straighten out your facts. Master Sgt. Pablo Martinez was the only one who admitted having anything to do with Aquino’s death. He insisted though that, He was the one who escorted Galman into the Airport, using a fake ID, and who made sure Galman was positioned under the bridge stairways, waiting for the kill.

    One of the convicted soliders, Sgt. Cordova Estelo, died from stab wounds sustained during an affray inside the NBP, during New Year’s eve December 31, 2005. But until his last breath, Estelo never admitted partaking in the conspiracy to kill Aquino. The same goes with the remaining 13 soldiers who stood defiant up to this date (whenever you are reading this) that it was Galman who shot Aquino.

    Just look at the prosecution’s theory that Aquino was shot while still descending at the middle of the stairs. Why is there not one drop of blood on the stairs? And why is Aquino’s pool of blood concentrated on the tarmac? Did Aquino walk a few more steps down the stairs before he finally fell down? or was he really shot at the tarmac, by no less than Rolando Galman, as the soldiers have been persistently claiming.

    There’s also the autopsy report that the Sandiganbayan ignored. The bullet entry wound behind Aquino’s left ear did not come from behind, but from the left side. This proves that Galman indeed shot Aquino, with a .357 magnum frangible bullet, not with a .45 or .38 caliber which were the best guest of the prosecution.

    If as it were claimed by the prosecution that it was Sgt. Rogelio Moreno, the alleged hitman, shot Aquino from behind, he runs the risk of hitting one of Aquinos escorts instead, while descending the stairs.

    There was also that classic video showing two of the military escorts inside the China Airlines to fetch Ninoy from his seat, and it clearly shows that their gun holsters were empty. Why? Because, it is Airline security policy not to allow firearms inside an airplane.

    There was also the driver of the SWAT van where Ninoy’s body was loaded from the tarmac, SPO4 Ruben Cantimbuhan who is still in active service today, with the and who claims that he saw with his very own eyes that it was Galman who shot Ninoy.

comments are welcome anytime EXCEPT those with more than 12 links or 12 URLs pasted. Tnx)

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