When Ninoy Aquino Backed Martial Law

Beningo ‘Ninoy’ Aquino

(Part of an occasional series on US diplomats and their relationships with the Philippines)

Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino’s death on 21 August 1983 on the apron of what is now the airport named after him, lit the fuse to the overthrow of the notoriously corrupt dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos  in February 1986. It led to the presidency of Corazon Aquino, and the controversial incumbency of Rodrigo Duterte, son of Ferdinand Marco’s former executive secretary, whose mother was a bitter opponent of Marcos.

The striking of the match that lit the fuse may have come as early as 1972 when Marcos made a strategic error – he arrested Ninoy Aquino.

Ambassador Frank E. Maestrone, who died in 2007, served as US Consular Officer from 1971 and was interviewed by the late Hank Zivetz for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project, in 1989. He had a front-row seat.

He gives us a sense of the complexities underlying the road to Martial Law – violence on the streets, a weak central government unable to bring provincial war-lords to heel.

Among the surprises, perhaps, is that Ninoy Aquino would have supported Martial Law as a temporary measure. However, Marcos’s first step was to arrest the opposition, eliminating the moderate opposition entirely, which strengthened the Communist insurgency and leading to a quintupling of recruitment into the NPA.

Maestrone’s interview is given here without comment. 

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Deuterium – The Hoax That Will Not Die – Part Five

1989 report on the Escosa fraud. Click for larger picture.

Few news outlets in the Philippines have a science correspondent, none of those who do have one have given tasked their science correspondent to write about the claims. Hence most press references simply rehash Escosa’s press release. This includes opinion columnists, the result being little push-back on the fraud.

This desert of scientific illiteracy in print, broadcast, and online media does have a couple of oases of actual journalism. Filipino writer Alan C Robles debunked the scam in the South China Morning Post  in an article called Science Fiction ,while the Manila Times took apart an article in Business week in 2013 asking Did Businessweek fall for a 30-year-old hoax?
By 2017, however, Manila Times had forgotten that deuterium deposits are a fraud and published: “Scientists and experts believe the region is rich in gas and deuterium deposits”No expert nor scientist believes in deuterium deposits.
By then the scammers had moved their fictional shiny object of desire from the bottom of the Philippine Trench to the far shallower waters of Benham Rise/Philippine Rise, well within the capacity of existing technology to exploit, so no more excuses.

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