“LANDO pagbutihin mo ang iyong gagawing trabaho,sapagkat kung mabibigo ka si Master ang siyang papatay sa iyo.”
These were reportedly Rolando Galman’s marching instructions moments before he pointed his gun at Ninoy Aquino’s head and fired. Within seconds, the assassin was riddled with bullets and dead beside his victim’s body.
This was revealed by pardoned Ninoy Aquino convict Pablo Martinez in an exlcusive interview at his safehouse with Peoples Tonight.
Preaching the Word of God to non-believers, a reunion with his family and a bioflick directed by Carlo J. Caparas are Martinez wishes this Christmas.
Martinez told Tonight he is encouraged with the pardon granted by former President Cory Aquino through Atty. Fulgencio Factoran, Jr. to the convicted Aquino-Galman soldiers.
What really happened
Martinez narrated what really happened 24 years ago at the tarmac as he manifested in his affidavit he executed last August 19, 2004
The pardoned convict bared the plot to liquidate Ninoy was hatched a month ago. He identified Col. Romeo Ochoco who was then deputy commander of the defunct Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM) who revealed about the displeasure of some of Marcos men over the latters plan to groom the late senator to be his successor.
He reminisced that Ochoco handpicked him for the job owing to his successful test mission in Lower Lakit Lakit in Tawi Tawi against the Muslim rebels in Mindanao in 1974.
Martinez bared that one T/Sgt Franklin Maniego brought him to the Carlston Hotel along Roxas blvd., Baclaran, Parañaque, where he met Col. Ochoco, Gen. Romeo Gatan ,businessman Herminio Gosueco and Galman for some briefing.
On the following day, Col. Ochoco briefed them again ,this time actually telling him that Galman will be the hitman for the job to kill Ninoy.
Martinez said that Col. Ochoco assigned him to be Galman’s handler.
He sensed that he could no longer back out from the task since the bodyguards of Ochoco were determined to kill him if he backed out or squelled since he knew all about the plot.
Besides, it was his first time for such kind of a job.
He was given a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver and sufficient ammunitions while Galman was issued a Smith & Wesson Magnum revolver.
On that fateful day of Aug. 21, they took their breakfast along with Gen. Gatan, Col. Ochoco, Gosueco, several armed bodyguards and two unidentified ladies.
Later, Gatan gave his final briefing, reminding Galman that he will be killed by Martinez in case he fumble the job.
“Lando pagbutihin mo ang iyong gagawing trabaho,sapagkat kung mabibigo ka si Master ang siyang papatay sa iyo,” Martinez quoted Gatan as telling Galman.
Gatan disclosed that they will later be brought to an undisclosed place in the vicinity of the airport by a SWAT van which will be positioned near the China Airlines and to be transported to another vehicle en route to their undisclosed safehouse where they will hide with cash on their pockets after the assassination of Ninoy and assume new identities.
Later, Ochoco indicated that Sgt. Rolando De Guzman could replace Galman in case he is not a good sharpshooter.
But Martinez insisted that Galman should do the job which was agreed upon by Ochoco.
Later in the day, Galman was issued a PAL maintenance uniform while Martinez said that he was given his SWAT uniform..
Martinez said they boarded the staff car driven by one TS Maniego. They passed through Gate 4 at the back entrance and alighted at the center of the terminal tube and proceeded to the Bay 8 where they waited for the plane which carried Ninoy.TS Maniego on the other hand returned to the hotel.
They were able to break through the tightly cordoned area since Galman had used the ID of one who turned out to be Ret. M/Sgt. Dominador Aguayo.
They positioned themselves behind the front wheel of the plane with two AVESCOM soldiers posted on guard at the foot of the stairway whom he shouted to get out of the area leaving it unguarded.
Later, Martinez saw Sgt. Arnulfo De Mesa, Ninoy, TS Lat, Sgt. Rogelio Moreno and Mario Lazaga descended the stairway.
As Ninoy’s security walked to board a waiting SWAT van which was then driven by Ruben Cantimbuhan , Galman dashed passed De Mesa, Aquino and Lat from behind the stairway and pointed his gun at the left side of Aquino’s head behind his ears and fired once, hitting directly at the left side head resulting to the sprouting of blood from the senators head.
Aquino fell down the tarmac while De Mesa parried and grappled the gun from Galman’s hands.
Later, Martinez said that he heard gunshots fires from De Guzman’s .45 caliber pistol which found its mark on Galman’s head followed by volley of gunshots from armalite rifles from the men who jump out of the SWAT van.
Martinez later sought cover and boarded the SWAT van where De Mesa handed to him the .357 Magnum revolver used by Galman.
Galman was left dead on the tarmac with multiple gunshot wounds from .45 cal pistol and armalite rifles.
Martinez said that he saw Capt. Felipe Valerio inside the SWAT van and other members of Team Alpha. They proceeded to the Military Security Unit at Fort Bonifacio instead of directly to the camp hospital .
The van proceeded to the camp hospital where the doctor pronounced Aquino dead on arrival.
Martinez said in his second affidavit he executed last Sept. 17 ,2004, that Ochoco first used to visit them in their quarters after the incident until he vanished and left the country.
In the same second affidavit, Martinez was firm in naming a close relative of the Aquino clan as the mastermind in the Aquino slay plot.
Martinez, who had written this writer via LBC last Sept. 5 this year, is thankful, too, to Tonight for publishing his appeals for clemency to President Arroyo.
Martinez said he ache for the other convicted soldiers who knew nothing about the plot even as he renewed his appeal to the Aquino clan to believe the truth, adding that Ochoco and Valerio could serve as vital witnesses in shedding light to the case.
“Nasa kanila na ’yon. Nasabi ko na ang buong katotohan .Huwag na sana nila ipilit ang gusto nila, at tanggapin ang katotohan as Christians. Mahirap sa saing Kristiyano ang may kimkim na sama ng loob sa kapwa tao,” Martinez, an ordained pastor of Katiwala ng Diyos Christian Ministries Inc of Bacoor, Cavite, said. He said that he is confident that his enemies could not harm him with God as his Protector although the mastermind remains at large.
Also, Martinez bared he wants to taste a whole lechon baka when he reunites with his family after being jailed for over 29 years .
Martinez said that Mrs. Aquino’s pardon should be a welcome news to the remaining soldiers still behind prison bars who should hope for their freedom too in the near future.
Martinez said he hopes that Mrs. Aquino would believe his story about the mastermind.
He motored to his hometown in Pangasinan to reunify with his local folks recently only to be back at his safehouse in Metro Manila.
“No final plans yet for Christmas,” Martinez said.
But Martinez still nurtures mixed emotions, pointing out he is very happy after President Arroyo granted him conditional pardon although he remains sad that the other 13 remaining convicted soldiers in the Aquino-Galman double case remains behind bars.
Also, Martinez stressed he is “penniless” and back to zero after exhausting all his savings.
“Masaya ako pagkat malaya na ako subalit di ganap ang kagalakan kasi na-drained lahat ang konting ipon ko.Back to zero,”he said.
He is hopeful that multi awarded director Caparas would push through with his film project on the Aquino case.
He bared Carlo J. and Donna Villa had talked with him months ago while he was still jailed at the New Bilibid Prisons for a possible film project to ferret out the truth about the Aquino slay.
“Sana matuloy na ’yun, “said Pablo,adding the proceeds from the film project will certainly help him with his mission to evangelize to unbelievers and sustain him and his family.
He said Eddie Garcia and Zsa Zsa Padilla would fit his role and his second wife, respectively. Cesar Montano,though could play his role while still a young man in the military service, he said.
Martinez happens to be an avid fan of Carlo J. notably his comics novel Berdugo published daily at People’s Tonight.
Asked about a possible meeting with former President Cory Aquino, Martinez quipped: “Kahit lumuhod ako sa harap niya.”
He is hoping that Mrs. Aquino would believe his story especially about the mastermind since the latter had wanted to ferret out the truth about the martyrdom of his husband.
A bright boy
Previously, Martinez, who was a bright but poor boy, dreamt to be rich by working as a miner and a boxer only to find himself enlisted in the military with the help of his elder brother.
He lamented for embracing the military dictum of obeying first before complaining, which brought him to his predicament almost as a doomed man.
Interviewed by Peoples Tonight in his safehouse in Metro Manila, Martinez — a Gold Cross Medal awardee –reiterated he actually saw Galman pumped a single bullet behind Ninoy’s left ear.
For her part, Chief Public Attorney Persida V. Rueda Acosta emphasized there is nothing political about the conditional pardon to Martinez last Nov. 7 this year to despise the Aquino clan.
Acosta is also encouraged and optimistic that President Arroyo will eventually grant clemency to the 13 remaining convicted soldiers after Mrs. Aquino’s formal pardon to them which was conveyed by Atty. Factoran in his reply letter to the Board of Pardons and Parole.
Acosta also cited Memorandum Order No. 155 which President Arroyo issued last Nov.17,2004 in connection with the pardon to Martinez by Mrs. Arroyo.
The order tasked the Bureau of Corrections , Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Board of Pardons and Parole for names of inmates in their 70s for purpose of extending executive clemency.
The ailing Martinez only reached his 70s in April this year, it was stressed
The PAO head said that her primordial con- cern is the release of the remaining 13 convicted soldiers which will certainly put closure to the case.
Acosta also urged the Aquino clan to help out in ferreting out the truth by lending a hand to extradite Valerio and Ochoco to the country.
Valerio could be a vital witness to the controversial case.
The Supreme Court earlier junked her efforts to reopen the case, prompting her to bring the matter before the Sandiganbayan, which ordered the extradition of Valerio, who has fled to California in the U.S.