Duterte Youth lawmaker wants Ninoy Aquino image removed from ₱500 bill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 4) – A lawmaker representing the Duterte Youth party-list has filed a resolution urging the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to remove the image of the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. from the ₱500 bill, calling it “divisive.”

In House Resolution No. 2566, party-list Rep. Ducielle Cardema said Aquino should be replaced with a “more unifying nationalistic figure,” as she pointed out several Filipinos support former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., whose dictatorial regime was toppled with the help of Aquino.

She expressed belief the opposition senator, who was assassinated during the Marcos administration, “caused division” within the country.

“If real wartime Philippine heroes like General Vicente Lim, Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, and Josefa Llanes Escoda (founder of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines), who all fought against foreign invaders to defend all their Filipino countrymen, can be removed from the Philippine currency notes, much more is the reason behind the removal of Filipinos who only fought fellow Filipinos and caused division among Philippine society," read the resolution dated May 2 and released to the media on Wednesday.

Cardema was referring to BSP's earlier decision to replace the country's World War II heroes with the image of the Philippine eagle in the ₱1,000 bill. The central bank’s move was denounced by some, including the University of the Philippines' Department of History, which said it is “a slap on the face of our heroes.”

Last month, Cardema also filed a bill seeking to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to its original name, Manila International Airport.

The airport is where Aquino was shot dead on August 21, 1983, sparking public outrage against the Marcos dictatorship. This helped trigger the People Power Revolution in 1986 that overthrew Marcos and catapulted Aquino's widow, Corazon "Cory" Aquino, to the presidency.

In a message during Aquino's 38th death anniversary last year, President Rodrigo Duterte himself highlighted the "ultimate sacrifice" of Aquino, and urged Filipinos to honor the senator's legacy.