The Supreme Court has denied the petition seeking to nullify a three-decade-old law that renamed the Manila International Airport as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
The high court’s spokesman Brian Hosaka told reporters today that the justices unanimously arrived at the decision yesterday for the petition’s “lack of merit.”
Lawyer Larry Gadon late last month petitioned the nullification of Republic Act 6639, which renamed the country’s main airport to NAIA following the assassination of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ rival Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on its tarmac. Gadon, a vocal Marcos supporter, questioned the renaming of the country’s main airport claiming that it had violated the guidelines of the National Historical Institute (NHI) stating that no public places should be renamed after a person within 10 years of their death.
Gadon said in his petition that the airport was named after Aquino in Nov. 27, 1987, four years after he was killed, which he said should be declared illegal.
However, NHI guidelines state that the 10-year rule applies except “for highly exceptional reasons” which include “assassination in the service of the country,” “exceptional service to the nation,” and if one’s “death was a result of his patriotism.”
Gadon also said that Marcos’ fiercest critic was “never declared a hero” and as such an airport doesn’t need to be named after him.
The lawyer is probably unaware of Republic Act No. 9256, a law that commemorates the death anniversary of Aquino every Aug. 21 as a tribute to his martyrdom. Many believe that Aquino’s death set off a chain of events that led to the People Power Revolution of 1986 which ended Marcos’ reign, one that’s marked by numerous human rights violations and corruption. Many also believe that recent efforts to rename NAIA are meant to rewrite history and erase the memory of the Marcos’ family’s wrongdoings.
Back in June, presidential son and Congressman Paolo Duterte, along with two other colleagues, filed House Bill No. 7031, which seeks to change NAIA’s name to Paliparang Pandaigdig ng Pilipinas (“Global Airport of the Philippines”).
According to Duerte and his allies, it was necessary to rename NAIA to make it clear to travelers that the airport is located in the Philippines.