The assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. while under government protection ignited rebellious emotions among a vast number of Filipino people. The Aquino funeral procession was held last August 31, 1983, roadblocks were set up to let the funeral procession pass by, and an estimated two million people attended the affair.

         Metro Manila schools and universities were represented by delegations of students, among which were sympathizers of the ill-fated Aquino as well as students showing their dissatisfaction with the present political situation. The student groups at the funeral included students from the University of the Philippines, Ateneo, and La Salle.

         The La Salle delegation headed by Student Council President Fernando Pahati numbered around 30 to 40 students.

         They waited for the funeral cortege to pass by Luneta and finally joined the procession at around 2 o’clock p.m. The La Salle students marched with the slow-paced procession, draping an identifying black cord around the group, to ensure safety. The La Sallites wore black pins on their left chest, and the marshals of the delegation wore yellow bands around their arms. Earlier, while still aboard the bus, they were ordered to get off and walk, enduring shouts of “bumaba na kayo” from Aquino sympathizers.

         Even as the rain started pouring, the funeral procession went on smoothly. The rain did not break up the ranks, as only a few people fell out of the march to find shelter. People were shouting “walang aalis” and “babalik kami, mas marami.” Among the scenes, when some people started opening their umbrellas, the crowd shouted, “Si Imelda lang ang nagpapayong” The downpour lasted for a few minutes only.

         Later in the afternoon, the crowd became more aggressive. Angry shouts were heard. Chorus like

         ‘Sigaw ni Marcos, baw waw waw.

         Sigaw ni Imelda, meow meow meow.

         Sigaw ni Virata, tax tax tax

         Sigaw ni Enrile, bang bang bang.”

         “Sinong pumatay kay Aquino’

         Si Pogi.

         Sinong asawa ni Pogi’

         Si Maganda.

         Saan nakatira?

         Sa Malacanang.”

         “Sigaw ng bayan!



         The funeral procession at times seemed more like a mass rally calling for justice and freedom from repression. Banners of all shapes and sizes were carried by people. Pictures of Ninoy Aquino proliferated.

         The La Salle delegation moved out of the procession at the turn on Taft Avenue. The participation of the small La Salle group in the funeral procession of Aquino was seen as proof that La Sallites are becoming more politically aware, and more willing to express their view on issues of national importance. La Salle has long been criticized by other schools for its alleged non-involvement and indifference to political issues.

         In connection with this, leaflets were being circulated on campus, encouraging the people to “ban” government-controlled newspapers that were accused of giving extremely inadequate media coverage to the Aquino assassination, a protest slated to last from September 11 to 21, 1983. The main targets are the Bulletin Today, Daily Express, and Times Journal. This was a move sponsored by the Press Freedom Committee of the Justice for Aquino, Justice for All Movement.

Dolly Dy

By Dolly Dy

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