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"It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my immediate execution or set me free."

[Benigno] Aquino was thinking of running against Marcos in 1987, and had been working with opposition leaders against the President’s heavyhanded rule. One of those leaders, Assemblyman Salvador Laurel, was at the airport along with thousands of Aquino followers when the assassination occurred. As word of the shooting rippled through the anguished crowd, Laurel glumly urged, “Be cool, be cool.”

When he died, Aquino was carrying a statement he had intended to read at the airport: “It is now time for the regime to decide. Order my immediate execution or set me free.” While there is no evidence that the Marcos government was involved in the death, neither is there any doubt that many of Aquino’s followers will see it as an execution, possibly by the President’s loyalists in the armed forces. And that could doom any hope that the Philippines will “be cool.”

“Bloody Welcome”, Time, Monday, August 29, 1983

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