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by Echo Park Community Coalition (EPCC) Tuesday, Jun. 22, 2010 at 5:26 PM 818-749-0272 1740 W. Temple St. Los Angeles, Ca 90026

It is interesting to study the tale of two political families in Asia. One in Pakistan. The other is the Philippines. The present president of Pakistan is the husband of martyr president Benazir Bhutto- Asif Ali Zardani while in the Philippines, the upcoming president is the son of the former president, Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

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June 21, 2010


By J. Luna

It is interesting to study the tale of two political families in Asia. One in Pakistan. The other is the Philippines. The present president of Pakistan is the husband of martyr president Benazir Bhutto- Asif Ali Zardani while in the Philippines, the upcoming president is the son of the former president, Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Tales of the Bhutto Family

Benazir Bhutto was born in Pakistan on 21 June 1953. She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani Shia Muslim of Sindhi Rajput] descent, and Begum Nusrat Ispahani, a Shia Muslim Pakistani of Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto.

Benazir Bhutto's father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was removed from office following a military coup in 1977 led by the then chief of army General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who imposed martial law but promised to hold elections within three months. Nevertheless, instead of fulfilling the promise of holding general elections, General Zia charged Mr. Bhutto with conspiring to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sentenced to death by the martial law court.

Despite the accusation being "widely doubted by the public", Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on 4 April 1979. Appeals for clemency were dismissed by acting President General Zia. Benazir Bhutto and her mother were held in a "police camp" until the end of May, after the execution.

The family fought the military dictatorship of Genral Zia. tooth and nail. The Bhutto brothers were supported by the USSR, formed the armed group Al Zulfikar In 1985. Benazir Bhutto's brother Shahnawaz was killed under suspicious circumstances in France.

The group Al Zulfikar was suspected to be behind the bombing of a plane of General Zia that caused his death in 1988.The whole CIA group with the host of US officials were killed in the bombing that caused the plane to crash. The US blamed the KGB amd its supported gropu the Al Zulfikar.

Benazir’s Exile and the Movement For the Restoration of Democracy

As restrictions on press and media were intensified and persecution of political activist increased Bhutto realized that only way to fight Zia's regime was to unite with a section of the opposition Pakistan National Alliance. The talks with PNA were successful and Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) was established. The movement was widely supported by people of Pakistan and brutally repressed by the junta.

The MRD included sections of Pakistani society that were outside Zia's preview of Islamization of the country, like Shiites, ethnic minorities such as Balochs, Pathans and Sindhis and Bhutto's own PPP. While Benazir spent most of the time under house arrests and imprisonments the MRD movement continued its protests against the regime. An estimated twenty thousand PPP workers were killed and between 40,000 to 150,000 people made political prisoners in crackdown by Zia.

Later when Benazir became Prime Minister in 1986, att he same time Cory Aquino became president in the Philippines, the family became alienated with each other. Aquino was swept into power with the tide of anti-Marcos wave. His son later will win the election in 2010 riding the anti-GMA wave.

In 1996, the killing of her other brother, Mir Murtaza, contributed to destabilizing her second term as Prime Minister. Murtaza, who had been outspoken in his accusations of corruption by his sister and her husband Zardari, was gunned down just outside of his home by police.

This extrajudicial killing was almost certainly approved at the highest levels and it was widely believed to have been instigated directly by Bhutto's husband Zardari.

Later, Benazir herself was assassinated and her husband was to be elected president of Pakistan in her stead.

Cory Aquino of the Sumulong-Cojuanco Dynasty in the Philippines

On the other hand Corazon Cojuanco Aquino, the wife of the assassinated leader of the opposition became the president of the Philippines in a snap election in February 1986. Cory Aquino was born the 6th child of Jose Cojuangco (Don Pepe), nephew of the legendary Ysidra Cojuangco (Doña Sidra), and Demetria Sumulong (Doña Metring), a daughter of ex

-Cojuangco family lawyer turned senator Juan Marquez Sumulong of Antipolo, Rizal province.

The Cojuangcos were big landowners while the Sumulongs were influential politicians in both Lower and Upper Chambers of the Philippine Congress. Don Juan Sumulong who was a senator and a represntative of Rizal province, was the stalwart of the opposition Partido Democrata ( Democratic Party) in the Philippines from the 1920's to 1950's.

After her graduation from college in the United States, the young Cory returned to the Philippines to study law at the Far Eastern University (owned by elder sister Josephine Cojuangco Reyes) for one year. She interrupted her law studies when she married the then rising political star Benigno Aquino, Jr., more popularly known as Ninoy, the son of the late Speaker Benigno Q. Aquino, Sr..

The couple produced five children, four girls and one boy, namely: Maria Elena (Ballsy) Aquino Cruz, Aurora Corazon (Pinky) Aquino Abellada, Benigno Simeon III (Noynoy) Aquino, Victoria Eliza (Viel) Aquino Dee and Kristina Bernadette (Kris) Aquino Yap. Noynoy himself was elected President of the Philippines in 2010.

Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.

A member of the Liberal Party, Aquino's husband Ninoy rose to become the youngest governor in the country and eventually became the youngest senator ever elected in the Senate of the Philippines in 1967

An eloquent speaker and brilliant politician, Ninoy Aquino soon emerged as a leading critic of the government of President Ferdinand Marcos. He was then touted as a strong candidate for president to succeed Marcos in the 1973 elections. However, Marcos, being barred by the Constitution to seek a third term, declared martial law on September 21, 1972, and later abolished the existing 1935 Constitution, thereby allowing him to remain in office. As a consequence, Aquino's husband was among those to be first arrested at the onset of martial law, later being sentenced to death. During his incarceration,

In 1980, upon the intervention of US President Jimmy Carter, Marcos allowed Senator Aquino and his family to leave for exile in the United States, where he sought medical treatment. Aquino, an asset of the CIA, became a scholar in Harvard until his passport was cancelled by President Ronald Reagan a friend of the Marcos family.

The family settled in Boston, and Aquino would later call the next three years as the happiest days of her marriage and family life. On August 21, 1983, however, Ninoy ended his stay in the United States and returned without his family to the Philippines, only to be assassinated.

Aquino’s presidency, 1986-1992.

Cory Aquino became the first female president of the Philippines. The same time Benazir Bhutto became the first woman prime minister of Pakistan in 1986.

Cory Aquino’s presidency was marked by nine coup attempts by the Philippine military. She was shored up by General Fiel Ramos who she blessed with gratitude by anointing to be her successor in the 1992 presidential elections.

She supposed to maintain a clean reputation but her administration was riddle with graft and corruption. Her term was known by the monicker" Kamag-anak Incorporated" with his brother Peping Cojuanco, presiding over the biggest gambling business with PAGCOR and STL as his domain.

Her saving grace from ignominy came in 2005 when she asked Predient Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to resign and allowed herself to be an icon of the opposition to the lady president -GMA who was her protégée. She even publicly admitted her mistake of supporting GMA to Erap Estrada who was convicted in his case of plunder.

She died from colon cancer in 2009 and thereby paving the way for her luck luster son to be anointed candidate of the resurrected Liberal Party (LP) against the incumbent president Arroyo’s anointed candidate in the May 2010 elections. The rest is history. Noynoy Aquino was elected with a majority vote in a dubious first automated elections in the Philippines.

Parallels and Differences

One thread that binds these Asian countries, that family dynasties rule the political system in the modern times. The Bhuttos in Pakistan and the Aquino’s in the Philippines. The only difference is that in Pakistan it is more complicated and that in the process brothers fought with their eldest sister for power and their mother's love.

The reverse happened, Benazir’s husband became the president when his wife was assassinated. Benazir benefited by the martyrdom of his father,, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was hanged in 1978. While in the Philippines, Cory Aquino stepped in to fill the shoes of his oppositionist husband in 1983.

Noynoy Aqunio, an under achiever-playboy debonair, chain smoking Senator was thrust into the limelight by the death of his mother and became an icon of the leaderless opposition in the Philippines. He was elected by a majority vote, the biggest margin in the Philippine electoral history of more than 41% or 16 million votes.

We can always surmise that the people of this countries are always been take for a ride to successive events and were forced to elect these dynasties to power. All in the name of "democracy".

There must be a real mass movement that will take the people’s power into their own hands, not to be shaped by these old feudal political dynasties.

But that is another tale to be told in the future.


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Speaking of playboy debonair A. Luna Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010 at 12:23 AM
I want his job Sol .A Thursday, Jun. 24, 2010 at 5:39 AM

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