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‘Di bayani! Gadon tells Duterte, Congress to strip Ninoy Aquino from airport name

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By Xave Gregorio

The abogado who filed an impeachment complaint against ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno is now pursuing a new goal: To have former Senator Ninoy Aquino’s name from the country’s major airport in Manila.

Lorenzo Gadon submitted a petition last May 8 to President Rodrigo Duterte, former Senate President Koko Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez “respectfully [urging] our Honorable President [Duterte] and our government, through Congress and the responsible executive agencies, to restore the country’s gateway to its original name, Manila International Airport (MIA).”

“The name of Ninoy Aquino is a growing course of rancor and divisiveness among our people,” Gadon, a self-confessed loyalist of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, said in his two-page petition.

He said Aquino should be “held to account” for the “fake account” of the Jabidah massacre which “sabotaged our country’s claim to territory,” his allegedly being an accomplice in the reestablishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing and for his “inexplicable” absence during the bombing of the 1971 Liberal Party rally in Plaza Miranda.

“Siya ay traydor sa bayan. Siya ang nagpasimula ng NPA (New People’s Army), hindi siya bayani,” Gadon said Friday (May 25) in a media briefing.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founded by Jose Maria Sison, was formed by Bernabe Buscayo, who hails from a poor farming family from Capas, Tarlac.

Aquino was not formally allied with the CPP and the NPA, but had an “informal and objective alliance” with the Communist rebels, Sison told GMA News TV in 2010.

“The CPP and NPA and Ninoy were informal and practical cooperators against the Marcos regime from late 1968 onwards up to his assassination by the military minions of Marcos and further on with his wife as ally after his assassination,” Sison said.

D​espite admitting that he and Buscayo were Aquino’s friends, he denied that the late senator had any knowledge that CPP was being reestablished and the NPA was being formed.

Aside from this, Gadon told Duterte and Congress leaders that reverting the airport to its original name would​ move away from its recent “scandalous performance” and better represent the identity of the country.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) got its name in 1987, four years after his assassination on the tarmac of the same airport then known as the MIA.

“This was done well in advance of the 10-year prescription period for naming public sites after dead personalities. The height of a self-serving motive to uplift one’s image for political perpetuity, brainwashing and indoctrination,” Gadon said in his petition.

While national Historical Commission of the Philippines guidelines on the naming and renaming of public spaces provides for the 10-year prescription period, it waives this ban “for highly exceptional reasons,” including “assassination in the service of the country.”

It also prohibits public spaces already named after presidents and national heroes to be “replaced with names of people of lesser importance.”

At least three online petitions have been launched since 2016 seeking to remove Aquino’s name from NAIA, but all of these, which include the petition launched by Gadon dubbed “Bring Back MIA,” have failed to muster the targeted number of signatories.