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Ex-Manila mayor Mel Lopez, 81

Then Manila councilor Mel Lopez talks at a Liberal Party rally in Plaza Miranda on Aug. 21, 1971, just before a bomb exploded and killed nine persons and wounded 92 more, including Lopez. Then president Ferdinand Marcos used the incident as a basis to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.  

MANILA, Philippines – Former manila mayor Gemiliano “Mel” Lopez Jr. died last night. He was 81.

The cause of death was not immediately known, although a source said he suffered a heart attack at 6:30 p.m. and was rushed to a hospital.

Lopez was the chairman of Philippine National Oil Co.

Lopez was also chairman of Pacific Concrete Products, Inc., a company operating several quarry areas and concrete manufacturing plants across the country.

He was among the founding signatories of Lakas ng Bayan (Laban).

As a councilor of Manila in the 1960s, he organized opposition to the Marcos regime.

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He was among 92 people who were wounded when a Liberal Party rally in Plaza Miranda was bombed on Aug. 21, 1971. Then president Ferdinand Marcos used the incident as a pretext to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

In 1986, former president Corazon Aquino appointed Lopez as officer-in-charge of Manila. He was later elected as its 14th mayor and served until June 30, 1992.

During his term as Manila mayor, Lopez worked for the revival of the Manila Boy’s Town, enlisting the technical and financial support of the private sector.

The facilities were rehabilitated and refurbished to accommodate Manila’s poor and underprivileged children, providing them education, livelihood and career opportunities.

After serving as mayor, he was appointed as chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission from 1993 to 1995.

Lopez held a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce with majors in Banking and Finance from Jose Rizal University (formerly Jose Rizal College).  – With Rey Galupo

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