A witness testified Monday she saw a soldier shoot the husband of President Corazon Aquino on an airline staircase, disputing military claims the 1983 assassination was carried out by a communist hit man.

Rebecca Quijano told a special court she saw a military escort point a gun to the back of Benigno Aquino while the foremost opposition leader at the time was descending an airline staircase on Aug. 21, 1983."Simultaneously, I heard a shot," said Quijano, who was among the passengers of the China Airlines plane that brought Aquino home from 3 years of self-exile in the United States.

Quijano was the second civilian to give an eyewitness account of the

killing in the retrial of the celebrated assassination case that sparked widespread protests and eventually led to Marcos' ouster.

Last Jan. 4, Philippine Airlines ground mechanic Jesse Barcelona emerged for the first time to testify he saw a soldier gun down Aquino while he and his escorts were descending the staircase.

The testimony of Barcelona and Quijano disputes claims by the military under Marcos that alleged communist hit man Rolando Galman shot Aquino before he himself was gunned down moments later by soldiers.

Quijano testified for the first time in May 1985 before a three-judge court, but that court disregarded her testimony and acquitted a civilian and 25 soldiers, including Marcos' armed forces chief Gen. Fabian Ver, of double murder charges.

After Aquino's widow took power following the civilian-backed military revolt in Feburary 1986, a newly reconstituted Supreme Court declared a mistrial and ordered that the assassination case be reopened.