Thursday, March 5, 2009

Search: Kris Aquino: Release of 10 convicts insults dad's memory

MANILA, Philippines – TV personality Kristina Bernadette “Kris” Aquino, daughter of slain former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., branded as an "insult to her father's memory" the release of the 10 convicts of in Aquino-Galman double murder case.

In a report in GMA News’ “24 Oras,” Ms. Aquino said she felt “cold and purely emotional” when she saw the convicts walk out of the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) last Wednesday after being pardoned by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“Nagalit ako dahil ang feeling ko na-walanghiya ‘yung memory ng daddy ko [I was angered because I felt that my father’s memory was insulted],” Ms. Aquino told GMA News reporter Connie Sison in an interview.

"Nangyari kasi, napanood ko sa news and nabigla ako, nanlamig ako, purely emotional [I was shocked when I saw it in the news. I felt cold and very emotional],” she added.

Ms. Aquino, the youngest in five siblings, said what struck her was the absence of remorse on the part of the convicts. “Doon sa lahat nang pinanood ko kagabi naramdaman ko wala ni katiting na pagsisi [From what I saw, there was not even an iota of remorse]," she said.

Malacañang has defended the executive clemency granted on the convicts, saying it underwent the usual processes and was not meant as a political vendetta against the Aquino family. The slain senator’s widow, former President Corazon Aquino, had become a critic of the Arroyo administration since the "Hello, Garci" scandal broke out in 2005.

“The decision to pardon the soldiers in the Aquino-Galman case was not a political one but a matter of procedure,” Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said Thursday.


The convicts, for their part, insisted that they have nothing to do with the double murder of Aquino and his purported assassin, Rolando Galman, on August 21, 1983.

One of the convicts, former Captain Romeo Bautista, said they sympathize with the Aquino family’s sentiments and appealed for their understanding.

"Kami (ay) nakikiramay sa kanila. Masakit mawalan ng isang mahal sa buhay, lalo naman siguro para sa amin na wala naman kaming kinalaman, wala naman kaming alam. Dapat naman unawain din kami," Bautista said.

[“We sympathize with them. It’s painful to lose a loved one, but I guess it’s more painful for us because we’re innocent. They should understand us too.”]

Former T/Sgt. Claro Lat, for his part, stressed that it was Galman who assassinated Mr. Aquino.

Aside from Bautista and Lat, those who were freed were Rogelio Moreno, Ruben Aquino, Arnulfo Artates, Romeo Bautista, Jesus Castro, Rodolfo Desolong, Arnulfo De Mesa, Ernesto Mateo and Filomeno Miranda. They had been incarcerated for 26 years.

No forgiveness

Ms. Aquino meanwhile said she could never bring herself to forgive people who never showed contrition over what they did. "Kasi sinasabi dito na mag-reconcile, magpatawaran? Paano ka magpapatawad kung never naman inamin yung kasalanan?" she said.

[“They were calling for reconciliation, forgiveness. But how can you forgive if they never admitted their guilt?”]

Ms. Aquino also slammed the statement of one of the soldiers who said he carried the former senator's body to rush him to the hospital. "I felt it was such a blatant lie,” she said.

“Nung binuhat nila ang daddy ko, para silang nagbuhat ng kinatay na baboy. So huwag naman sanang magsinungaling na gusto mong dalhin sa ospital at gusto mong matulungan," she said.

[“They carried my dad as if they were carrying a pig. So I hope he will stop lying and saying that he wanted to help my dad by bringing him to a hospital.”]

Silent Cory

Ms. Aquino said her mother, former President Corazon Aquino, has refused to comment on the pardon to avoid accusations that she is politicizing the issue. She however said that her mother her mother asked her to remind the Filipinos on who her father was and who killed him.

"I had her permission, ang sinabi niya sa akin ikaw na ang magsalita para sa atin at sabihin mo lang, ipaalala mo lang sa buong Pilipinas, sa buong mundo, kung sino ‘yung namatay at sino ‘yung pumatay," she said.

[“I had her permission, and she told me ‘Ok, you speak in our behalf of us and remind the whole country, the whole world, who died and who killed him.”]

Ms. Aquino further said that they have no plans to dwell on the matter, even as she expressed worries over the impact of the issue on her mother's health. Mrs. Aquino is currently battling colon cancer.

"Actually, we’re not going to dwell on this primarily because my mom’s undergoing chemotherapy. Ayaw namin makadagdag doon sa [We don’t want to add on her] stress. It’s difficult enough for her what she's going through now,” she said.

Asked if she had a message to the convicts, Ms. Aquino said: "I don't have a message because I don't want to give them a chance to give me a message.” - GMANews.TV

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