SAN FRANCISCO—Filipinos commemorated the 30th anniversary of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination with a Mass and short recollections by guest speakers on Wednesday night at the newly opened gallery of the Philippine Consulate.
Journalist Phil Bronstein, who covered the post-assassination events in the Philippines extensively, making him a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, told the audience of 100: “Ninoy’s story is the story of personal courage” and that Filipinos “introduced to the world the concept of People Power” as a result of his murder.
Bronstein recalled Aquino’s funeral as “unlike any I’ve experienced in my life,” calling the groundswell of millions “biblical, ground-moving, as it was moving history.”
As the EDSA uprising developed and tanks started rumbling down the avenue toward the protesters, Bronstein said, “A humble truck driver handed me his ID card and said, ‘I’m going to die tonight. Please let my wife know.’ In that man was the spirit that Ninoy’s sacrifice sparked.” He said he has kept the ID card all these years.
Renowned television journalist Ken Kashiwahara, husband of Aquino’s sister Lupita, introduced Bronstein as the reporter “who owned the Philippines’ story” at the time. Kashiwahara saw everything but the actual shooting, as he accompanied Ninoy on the plane on his last trip home.
Monsignor Jeffrey Malanog, vice general of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, called on the audience to “unite as a people, to build on Ninoy’s sacrifice for a transparent governance and a just society.”
Deputy Consul General Jaime Ramon Ascalon welcomed the celebrants, saying, “Our country needs more heroes; our president needs our help. Let’s show our gratefulness for (Ninoy’s) great sacrifice.”
The celebrants stayed to renew acquaintances or recall the days of protest as they partook of the spread of refreshments prepared by some community members.