Plaza Miranda bombing
|Plaza Miranda bombing|
Liberal Party members in Plaza Miranda just before the bombing
|Location||Plaza Miranda, Quiapo, Manila, Philippines|
|Date||August 21, 1971 (UTC +8)|
|Target||political campaign rally|
|Suspected perpetrators||Communist rebels|
The Plaza Miranda bombing occurred during a political campaign rally of the Liberal Party at Plaza Miranda in the district of Quiapo, Manila in the Philippines on August 21, 1971. It caused nine deaths and injured 95 others, including many prominent Liberal Party politicians.
The Liberal Party's campaign rally was held to proclaim the candidacies of eight Senatorial bets as well as the candidate for the Mayoralty race in Manila. As a crowd of about 4,000 gathered to hear speeches, two hand grenades were reportedly tossed on stage. Among those killed instantly were a 5-year-old child and The Manila Times photographer Ben Roxas. Almost everyone on stage was injured, including incumbent Senator Jovito Salonga, Senator Eddie Ilarde, Senator Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Liberal Party president Gerardo Roxas, Sergio Osmeña, Jr., son of former President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Sergio Osmeña, Atty. Martin B. Isidro Councilor, Vice Mayor and Congressman for the City of Manila, and then Congressman Ramon Bagatsing, the party's Mayoral Candidate for the City of Manila.
Suspicion of responsibility for the blast initially fell upon incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos, whom the Liberals blamed for the bombing; however, in later years, prominent personalities associated with the event have laid the blame on the Communist Party of the Philippines under José María Sison. Jovito Salonga, in his autobiography, states his belief that Sison and the CPP were responsible. Former New People's Army commander, now Armed Forces of the Philippines Major General Victor Corpus has also made statements revealing that Sison ordered the bombing of the political rally. Corpus wrote in the autobiographical prologue to his 1989 book Silent War that he was present when some leaders of the CPP plotted the bombing. In a 2004 interview with journalist Max Soliven, Corpus affirmed that Sison (spoken of specifically, by name) dispatched the cadre who attacked the meeting with a hand-grenade.
Marcos, for his part, also blamed the communists. Citing a communist plot to destabilize the government, he assumed emergency powers and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus — a prelude to declaring Martial Law.
Jovito Salonga was among those most seriously injured. The blast left him blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. Small pieces of shrapnel are still lodged in his body. Ramon Bagatsing, the Liberal Party mayoralty candidate for Manila, lost his left leg and suffered a crushed right cheek bone and a shattered right arm.
Bearing on the election
In a setback for Marcos' ruling Nacionalista Party, the Liberals took six of the eight contested Senate seats, as well as the Manila mayoralty with then Congressman Ramon Bagatsing defeating the incumbent Antonio Villegas for the mayorship of the country's premiere city.
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