FACT CHECK: Opposition leader Ninoy Aquino took back his harsh words against then First Lady Imelda Marcos and praised her in a letter for her projects #FactsFirstPH

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Claim: Opposition leader Ninoy Aquino took back his harsh words against then First Lady Imelda Marcos and praised her in a letter for her projects, particularly the Philippine Heart Center

Rating: MISLEADING

On his 39th death anniversary, supporters of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, including Darryl Yap, brought out again the handwritten letter of Ninoy Aquino to Imelda Marcos (https://dailybncnews.com/…/sulat-ni-ninoy-aquino…/…).

This was written on May 5, 1980, when Ninoy had just come out from the Philippine Heart Center and this was given to Heart Center Director Dr. Jesus Aventura. The letter said, “In the past, I’ve been most critical of the First Lady’s project. Now that I’ve seen what she has done here at the Heart Center, I take back all my harsh words, hoping that I do not choke. Mrs. Marcos deserves all the credit for giving our people such an institution like your Heart Center. It is indeed ironical that one of her bitterest critics would be a beneficiary of her foresight. When the ultimate mist of controversy is melted by the rising sun, her works for our people will find final recognition.”

Yap said that this could be the germ of his next movie.

Have yourself vaccinated from rabies, Daryl. This is not what you thought it is.

Marcos apologist Cecilio T. Arillo wrote about the letter in 2016 for the Business Mirror: https://businessmirror.com.ph/…/ninoys-letter-to-mrs…/

Arillo quoted another journalist, Vic Barranco, who said that Ninoy confided to him that the late Marcos offered him to go into exile as early as 1979.

“As Barranco pointed out, Ninoy was just waiting for the presidential order for his exile, when the cardiac problem supervened. In that event, it would have been unseemly for Marcos to issue the exile order. The world would have been aghast, for wasn’t it enough that Ninoy had been sentenced to death by musketry, and now was facing death from a fatal disorder? An exile order would have been taken as a supreme cruelty, and a superfluous one at that. And so it was made to appear that Ninoy went to America only on medical leave,” Arillo said.

Dr. Rolando Solis, the interventional cardiologist with the Baylor Health Care System in Texas in the United States had another take: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/…/heart-to-heart-talks…

Solis recalled that when Ninoy was having heart problems, it was future President Cory who called him about her husband:

“I still vividly recall her voice: Rolly, this is Cory. Ninoy was just released from Fort Bonifacio and is now confined at the Philippine Heart Center. The doctors here said he had a heart attack and recommended a bypass operation. We might need your help. Here he is.”

Dr. Solis would then offer to have Ninoy in Dallas, rather than have him languishing at the Heart Center.

“Obviously, Ninoy’s death at the Philippine Heart Center, for any reason, would have been a PR disaster with local and international repercussions for Ferdinand Marcos’ regime. They had no choice but to let him go abroad.

Alternatively, Marcos, already under pressure for human rights violations from US President Jimmy Carter’s administration, found a face-saving way to release his nemesis,” Solis said.

Ninoy may have indeed written the letter, but it is not out of overwhelming thanks. It was to expedite his release from the cardiology center so he can be properly operated on by a friend.

Reviewing Ninoy’s medical records in Manila, Solis concluded that Ninoy “had progressive coronary insufficiency for almost five months prior to admission.”

“In real sense, a nation’s future lay on the operating table before me. Former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., whose life and death changed the course of Philippine history, was on the verge of a heart attack.

It was May 13, 1980, at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. The day before, I performed a heart catheterization with coronary angiography on Ninoy and determined he needed immediate surgery.”

After his operation, Ninoy regained his health and his resolve to fight the Marcos regime.

Even Arillo acknowledged this when he quoted Ninoy as saying in August 1980 to Marcos: “I faced death in your detention camp when your army doctors diagnosed my heart ailment as mere muscle spasm, only to be told by doctors in the United States that I could have died from the heart attacks while I was languishing in your jail.”

Although he was asked by Marcos not to give out political statements while in the US, Ninoy later said: “A pact with the devil is no pact at all.”

Why we fact-checked this

 If Daryl Yap is bent on coming out with a movie from this supposed heart letter, it is best to nip it in the bud.

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