On May 7, 1980, after the doctors at Philippine Heart Center diagnosed his ailment, Ninoy asked Pres. Marcos’ permission to leave for the U.S. for medical treatment.
On May 8, 1980, Pres. Marcos approved Ninoy’s trip to the U.S. with the First Lady facilitating it. Ninoy departed for America on the same day.
On the Philippine Airlines flight to Houston, Mrs. Marcos sent along cardiac specialists to make sure he wouldn’t get ill on his way to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
On May 26, 1980, Ninoy sent a cable to the president updating the latter of his condition, from when he was discharged from Baylor Medical City to going to San Francisco to spend time recovering, to his return to Dallas for a final check-up and his 6 to 8 weeks of physical rehabilitation therapy.
He added in his telegram, “However, if the President felt I should return to my Fort Bonifacio cell soonest, I shall forego the recommended physical rehabilitation therapy.”
In less than two days, on May 27-28 1980, General Fabian C. Ver, on behalf of the President, called up to say that Pres. Marcos had given Ninoy permission to take his time and go through with his physical rehabilitation therapy and that he can stay in American indefinitely.
Ninoy’s mother, Doña Aurora A. Aquino, also recalled about two weeks after his death:
“The late Minister [Carmelo] Barbero phoned Ninoy three days after his [Ninoy’s] operation, saying that, by order of the President, Ninoy could take his time and could stay in the United States as long as he wanted.”
With this understanding that he could stay in America indefinitely, Ninoy accepted a fellowship at Harvard where he stayed for two academic years.
Ninoy then traveled around the U.S., Syria, West Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Nicaragua, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia.
When his fellowship at Harvard ended in June 1981, Ninoy accepted another fellowship at MIT.
There was a deal between President Marcos and Ninoy that, in exchange for his release from detention to go on exile, the latter would not make any critical political statements against the Marcos administration.
Summarized notes from Chapter 2 — A Country Imperiled by Cecilio Arillo
Photo credit: Dr Rolando Solis with his patient, Ninoy, at Baylor Medical Center in Texas. Philippine Daily Inquirer; August 21, 2011; “Heart-to-heart Talks with Ninoy”, by Dr Rolando Solis, MD.