President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., in a message to commemorate the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino during his father’s reign on August 21, 1983, called on the country at large to “set aside political differences and unite for the country’s welfare and progress.”

“I stand united with all Filipinos worldwide in commemorating the Ninoy Aquino Day. By standing for his beliefs and fighting for battles he deemed right, he became an example of being relentless and resolute for many Filipinos,” Marcos said in a statement released by the Palace.

Marcos Jr., during his younger years studying in London, had previously stated that he had no idea about the alleged atrocities of his father’s regime when martial law was imposed throughout the country.

The statement issued by Malacañang on behalf of President Marcos steered its language towards a general message on the need to ‘transcend political barriers’.

“In our purposive quest for a more united and prosperous Philippines, let us transcend political barriers that hamper us from securing the comprehensive welfare and advancement of our beloved people,” it stated.

Marcos Jr. referred to love for the nation as the compass that will help the country foster a harmonious environment.

“Let us allow this compelling force to promote collaboration, celebrate diversity, and create a society that is teeming with vitality and inspiration,” Marcos said.

He said Filipinos should draw inspiration from the indomitable spirit of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr.

“As we take measured yet realistic strides towards progress, let us allow our steadfast spirit to drive us to uplift every Filipino and build an inclusive and more progressive Philippines,” Marcos said.

On August 21, 1983, Aquino was assassinated on the tarmac at Manila International Airport while being escorted by a group of military personnel.

The assassination of Aquino led to extensive political protests in Metro Manila and major cities across the country.

Over the course of three years, week after week, the street demonstrations continued without being obstructed by teams of anti-riot police and military forces, who were instructed to disband the rallies by employing water cannons from fire trucks and tear gas.

Finally, in February 1986, Marcos, labeled as a “dictator,” fled Malacañang Palace along with his entire family, including the now-elected President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., to Hawaii, as furious Filipinos stormed the Palace.

Marcos Jr. chose to remain in Ilocos Sur, where he served as the provincial governor, congressman, and later was elected as a Senator.

His attempt to secure the Vice Presidency was unsuccessful.

However, after nearly 40 years, the Marcoses have succeeded in reclaiming political power and are now once again situated in the Palace.

In accordance with Republic Act No. 9256, the 21st day of August each year is declared as Ninoy Aquino Day, commemorating the anniversary of Ninoy Aquino’s death.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the passing of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr.