Many people know Benigno Simeon Aquino Jr. simply as Ninoy. He was born in Concepcion, Tarlac on November 27, 1932, to Senator Benigno Aquino Sr. and Aurora Aquino.
A few days before he turned 35, Ninoy became the youngest person ever elected to the Philippine Senate. He was the only opposition candidate to win a Senate seat, as President Marcos’s Nacionalista Party had swept the elections. But Ninoy did not shy away from being an outspoken critic of Marcos.
When Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, Ninoy was arrested then imprisoned in Fort Bonifacio and Fort Magsaysay. He was tried before a military tribunal, falsely accused of murder and having Communist ties. In protest, Ninoy went on a 40-day hunger strike that severely weakened him. Still, the tribunal sentenced Ninoy to death by firing squad. After an international outcry, Marcos was forced to retract the death sentence, but he did not order Ninoy’s release.
Ninoy was imprisoned for a total of seven years and seven months. Then in 1980, he suffered a heart attack. Doctors recommended that he undergo bypass surgery. Ninoy was wary of getting an operation at a government hospital, and requested permission to go to Dallas, Texas, for surgery. After much hesitation, Marcos agreed.