Murder inquiry urged
MANILA: A Philippine senator filed a bill yesterday calling for the creation of an independent commission to determine the mastermind of the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino.
Senator Blas Ople, dropping earlier calls for a senate inquiry into the killing of former president Corazon Aquino's husband, said the members of the five-man commission would be appointed by President Fidel Ramos.
The killing triggered a popular upheaval that eventually toppled the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, whom the victim's family held responsible for the murder, and installed Aquino's widow as president in 1986.
Mr Ople said the proposed commission, to be drawn entirely from the private sector, should ''pursue the unfinished inquiry'' into the assassination in order to ''unravel the ultimate authorship of the crime''.
Sixteen soldiers led by a brigadier-general were sentenced to life imprisonment in 1990 for the murder, but the popular sentiment was that they were merely following orders of superiors.
Marcos died in exile in 1989 and was never charged with the killing. His right-hand man, general Fabian Ver, was implicated by investigators but could not be charged because he also fled the country and remains a fugitive.
There was no immediate reaction from the President on the Ople proposal.
Mr Ramos has created a three-man panel led by Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon to look into the possibility of reopening the Aquino murder case but its findings are not expected until early next year.