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It has been 28 years since the death of Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on the tarmac of the then Manila International Airport, now named after him.

Now that his son, Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, is the President of the country, Filipinos still do not forget the heroism of Ninoy. Back then, there was one people’s movement which has been instrumental to the 1986 People Power Revolution.

The August Twenty-One Movement (ATOM) started after the death Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. on August 21, 1983. “The fight was dangerous at that time. We were subjected to tear gas, dispersal operations,” Padilla said. “ATOM spearheaded the silent majority.”

Padilla called the ATOM the “yellow force,” saying that the movement was the centrist as it was not part of the extreme right or the extreme left. “We had a peaceful, non-violent struggle,” he said. “The assassination of Ninoy made us thinking that if it could happen to Ninoy, it could happen to any of us,” he added.

“It’s a very small core group pero andaming support [but there was a lot of support] – we saw it when we were facing hardships,” he said. “The support was very, very strong and when we call for mass action, everybody comes.”

“ATOM has the church and academe support, as well as the support of business leaders, and the credibility of ATOM was very high, they are respected members of society,” he said.

Padilla said among the prominent members of the ATOM include former Sen. Agapito “Butz” Aquino, who is the founding member of ATOM; Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was the legal counsel of ATOM; and PR man Aurelio “Reli” German.