Understanding government grand conspiracies
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2007-11-27
When a government is involved in a grand conspiracy, expect two elements to come into play — the propagation of a cover up story and the presentation of a scapegoat. The Ninoy Aquino August 21, 1983 assassination is easily the biggest government conspiracy in Philippine history and, as expected, a cover up and a scapegoat were presented.

The cover up and the scapegoat are intended to remove suspicion from the real mastermind. In the case of the Aquino assassination, Rolando Galman — the supposed hit man who did it upon the orders of the Communists — was the original cover up story and scapegoat. This was personally announced by Dictator Ferdinand Marcos himself on national television the day after the assassination.

However, forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony debunked the cover up story and few believed it here and abroad. Another cover up story has emerged and that is the tall tale of M/Sgt. Pablo Martinez, one of the soldiers who escorted Aquino to his death. Convicted for involvement in the conspiracy, Martinez was recently pardoned by Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Rolando Galman is still pinpointed by Martinez as the shooter but the new twist to the cover up story is that the mastermind is no longer the Communists but business tycoon and Cory Aquino cousin Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr.

Outside of the Galman theory, the responsibility falls squarely on the Marcos regime. That means that the Aquino assassination could only have been ordered by either Marcos himself (who remains the primary suspect) or somebody who was very close to Marcos, very powerful and was in a position to grab power in case Marcos died.

The compelling reason for ordering the Aquino assassination was to remove the all-too-real threat of Aquino rallying the Opposition to take over political power in a post-Marcos era.

What rules out Danding Cojuangco from being the mastermind is the fact that Danding Cojuangco was only in the money game during that time but was nowhere in the line of succession. He neither had the title to vie for it nor had command of the legions to be able to grab it.

Thus, the offer of M/Sgt. Pablo Martinez to seek the forgiveness of Cory Aquino, Ninoy's widow, reeks of hypocrisy and bad faith. His insistence to propagate a cover up betrays his real motives.

The power dynamics of the Marcos era was such that the Aquino assassination could only have been undertaken with the go-signal of Marcos or someone who could act on his behalf in ordering the military to undertake the elaborate operation. This is why political analysts at the time zeroed in on Imelda Marcos with the assumed cooperation of General Fabian Ver, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, if Marcos was in no condition to have ordered it.

But not even Imelda Marcos could have ordered it if Gen. Ver did not agree and cooperate. Then AFP Vice Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce-Enrile, singly or together, couldn't have also mounted the operation simply because of the concentration of power in the AFP on Gen. Ver's shoulders.

The main reason why some people doubt that Marcos was the mastermind is because they assumed that he was too sick to have ordered it. Some would also argue that Marcos was too smart not to have realized that the deed would lead to his undoing.

That Marcos was too sick to have ordered it was negated by the fact that he was strong enough to make a nationally televised official report some 30 hours after Aquino was murdered. Somebody who was too sick to order that military operation could not have made that television report to the nation.

That Marcos was too smart not to have foreseen the fallout doesn’t wash either. End stage renal failure has a tremendous effect on a patient’s mental health as unprocessed toxins affect the brain.

Under similar conditions, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez has been making outrageous pronouncements before his kidney transplant last September. Those are typical side effects of unprocessed toxins affecting the brain of an end stage renal patient.

Known for his brilliance and photographic memory, Marcos would occasionally appear on television during the 1980s sounding incoherent and groping to recall details.

A healthy Marcos may have refrained from ordering Aquino's assassination. But he was not the normal Marcos in August 1983. He had just undergone a kidney transplant operation and suffered a kidney rejection. Fearing death and the threat of an Aquino succession, the assassination was a measure that resulted from a desperate situation.

Ordering the murder of her political enemies has never been a known Imelda method and it's doubtful if she could have ordered the Aquino assassination. Not only that, Gen. Ver would have been reluctant to undertake such an operation if the order only came from Imelda.

It was Marcos who had blood in his hands at various times in his life. Too sick to think straight and threatened by his greatest nemesis — Marcos could have easily ordered the Aquino assassination.

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