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Published on Nov 21, 2008
On August 21, 1983, while on his way to Manila, Aquino was accompanied by several foreign journalists to ensure his safety or, at the very least, to record events for posterity in case rumors of a planned assassination proved to be true on China Airlines Flight 811. Despite a convoy of security guards (all assigned to him by the Marcos government) and a contingent of 2,000 military and police personnel on the tarmac, Aquino was fatally shot in the head as he was escorted off the airplane. Government investigators claimed that he was gunned down by Rolando Galman, who was immediately shot dead by the aviation security. No one actually identified who pulled the trigger, but Rebecca Quijano, another passenger, testified that she saw a man behind Aquino (on the stairs) point a gun at the back of his head, then there was the sound of a gunshot. A post-mortem analysis disclosed that Aquino was shot in the back of the head at close range with the bullet exiting at the chin at an angle which supported Quijano's testimony. Even more suspicions were aroused when Quijano described the assassin as wearing a military uniform.
The government claimed that Aquino was killed by a Communist hitman. However, politicians and diplomats found evident contradictions between the claim and the photos and the videotape footage that documented the time before and after the shooting. The footage had circulated throughout the Philippines at that time.
Aquino's funeral procession on August 31 lasted from 9 a.m.--with a funeral mass officiated by the Catholic archbishop of Manila, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and held at Santo Domingo Church--to 9 p.m., when his body was interred at the Manila Memorial Park. Two million people lined the streets during the procession which was aired by the Church-sponsored Radio Veritas, the only station that covered the procession. The procession reached Rizal Park, where the Philippine flag was brought to half-staff.