The Power of Brilliance and Courage: Dr. Belinda Aquino In The Eyes Of A Kasama

by Raymund “Ka Ray”Liongson, Ph.D.

Dutch American poet, academic, and diplomat Henry Van Dyke once wrote: “Genius is talent set on fire by courage.”This insightful statement is a fitting description of a woman gifted with a sharp probing mind and an unbending courage – Dr. Belinda A. Aquino.

An internationally acclaimed academic and political scientist, she authored Politics of Plunder: The Philippines Under Marcos (first published in 1987 by the University of the Philippines), a work that examined government corruption in the Philippines during the 20-year Marcos, Sr. regime.

She also has presented and contributed numerous analytical papers in various conferences and publications, which have broadened the perspectives of her audience.Lindy, as she is fondly called by her colleagues and friends, would emphatically say she’s not related to the late Sen. Benigno Aquino and proudly claims to be a full-blooded Ilocano who hails from La Union.

Her progressive and liberal political views, however, appear to be more aligned with those of the martyred Senator from Tarlac than the autocratic ruler from Ilocos.

An uncompromising activist, she critically opposed the dictatorial martial law years of Ferdinand Marcos and the murderous presidency of Rodrigo Duterte.

A staunch advocate of social justice and human rights, she wields her mighty pen exposing and denouncing corruption and human indignities.Dr. Aquino is synonymous to the Center for Philippine Studies of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa having been its founding Director. Next year, the Center, which was established in 1975, will mark its Golden Anniversary.Revered from the high academic pedestal, Dr. Lindy weaves herself with the common tao and was visibly present in the midst of the Pink Movement that emerged in the early 2020s.

She is one of the brains behind the Hawaii Filipinos for Truth, Justice and Democracy (HFTJD) that aims to promote civic engagement and the use of democratic principles, ensure that truth prevails in the retelling of history, and seek justice for all human rights victims and martyrs.Dr. Aquino’s contribution to Filipino consciousness, both in the Philippines and abroad, cannot be overstated. She remains to be an unambiguous and fearless voice that speaks truth to power.

We take pride in honoring her with this simple but wholeheartedly grateful special edition of the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle.

is a Retired professor of Philippine Studies at University of Hawaii’s Leeward Community College.

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