The Plaza Miranda bombing and the CPP

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila - The Philippine Star

It was a holiday last Aug. 21 as it was Ninoy Aquino Day. After all, 35 years have passed since he was assassinated as he went down the stairway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the airport that bears his name today. I have written so many articles about that incident in our political history, but there was an incident which happened 12 years earlier, on Aug. 21, 1971 that few people seems to have forgotten, especially the millennials among us. It was called the Plaza Miranda Bombing, which was a miting de avance of the Liberal Party (LP) held at the Plaza Miranda in front of the Quiapo Church where the LP senatorial bets were present.

An estimated crowd of 4,000 were gathered in front of the stage to see the eight LP senatoriables and hear their speeches for the election campaign when two hand grenades were lobbed at the stage. The explosion wounded many senatoriables and killed Manila Times photographer Ben Roxas and a five-year-old kid and wounded scores of victims.

Among the senators wounded were Senators Jovito Salonga, Sergio Osmeña Jr., Eva Estrada Kalaw and Sonny Osmeña. Also on stage were Sen. Ramon Mitra, LP president Gerardo Roxas, Sen. Eddie Ilarde and other LP stalwarts like Ramon Bagatsing, LP’s Manila mayoralty candidate and Atty. Martin Lorenzo.

Since this incident happened 47 years ago, few people remember it. So the question is, who ordered those grenades to be thrown at the LP meeting? As expected, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) blamed then Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos, but later Sen. Jovy Salonga wrote in his book that it was ordered by no less than CPP chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison who wanted to pin the blame on Marcos.

In hindsight, it was the continued presence and attacks by the CPP and its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA) that led to the declaration of Martial Law a year after the Plaza Miranda bombing. Of course then President Marcos used his Martial Law power to extend his term of office, which ended during the EDSA Revolution of 1986.

Before I forget… the only LP stalwart who wasn’t in Plaza Miranda when the grenades were thrown was then Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. Aquino critics insist that he was warned by Joma not to be in that rally. In fact my good friend, the late Sen. Salvador Laurel told me that Ninoy was with him in the Jai Alai fronton in Roxas Blvd. for the baptism of his child. This brings us to the next question, why after the Marcoses fled Malacañang after the EDSA Revolution did then Pres. Cory Aquino release Joma Sison from his jail cell without anything to benefit the Philippines. Only Joma can tell us the reason why Cory released him.

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Last Tuesday evening, no less than Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was in Cebu City to address the League of Municipalities-Visayas chapter at the Radisson Blu Hotel. Pres. Duterte’s presence clearly proves that when CPP chairman Joma Sison told his media friends that Pres. Duterte was in a “coma,” it was no doubt a fake news report! This gives you an idea that the CPP always have friends even in mainstream media who cannot even check the reports they receive from Joma Sison, which is why in the end, they are helping their news organization come up with fake news!

While he was still in Davao City during the anniversary of the Lex Talionis Fraternity at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao last weekend, Pres. Duterte said, “I’ll be out. If God wills it, it will be in 2022.” The President added, “When I said I would resign, it was said after my conference with the generals outside of the room in Malacañang. It was just a sounding board. That was an echo of what I told the soldiers and police during a command conference. I was so exasperated, tired. So I said if that’s the situation, why would I sacrifice by being president to serve and I could not even trust anybody. I said it is hard and then I said all those things. I am really tired.”

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 Former President Benigno Aquino III last Tuesday campaigned for opposition candidates in the 2019 polls, whom he said would serve as a check on the administration. In his speech during a mass commemorating the 35th death anniversary of his father Ninoy, the former chief executive said that the results of the midterm polls will determine if Filipinos still support the administration of his successor, Pres. Duterte. With the corruption during his term just unfolding at this time, I suggest to the former President to keep out of the mid-term elections because the influence of Pres. Duterte is stronger than Mr. Aquino’s!

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Email: [email protected]

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