(Message of Rep. Edcel C. Lagman on the twin anniversaries of the Plaza Miranda Bombing and Ninoy Aquino’s Assassination, 21 August 2022)
Fifty-one years ago today, on August 21, 1971, the Filipino nation was horrified, even as the world was shocked, by the viciousness of the Plaza Miranda bombing during the proclamation rally of the senatorial candidates of the Liberal Party and its local aspirants in the City of Manila.
Ten persons were killed, hundreds hurt including LP stalwarts who were gravely injured, even maimed, like Senators Jovito Salonga and Eddie Ilarde; Liberal Party President Gerry Roxas; LP senatorial candidate John Osmeña and guest candidate Eva Estrada-Kalaw; and then-Palawan Congressman Monching Mitra, all of whom won in the November 1971 senatorial elections, together with Genaro Magsaysay. Also injured were LP candidates for Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing and for Vice Mayor Martin Isidro, who also both won.
Sen. Salonga was left blind in one eye and deaf in one ear, and when he died 45 years later, small pieces of shrapnel remained embedded in his body. Mayor Bagatsing lost a leg.
Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin nalulutas ang krimen. Ngunit sinisi ni dating Pangulong Ferdiand Marcos, Sr. and mga komunista, at kalaunan ay ipinataw niya ang batas military isang taon lamang matapos ang pambobomba at idineklara niya na ang paghihimagsik ng mga komunista ay isang pangunahing dahilan para sa pagpataw ng batas militar.
Twelve years after the Plaza Miranda bombing, on August 21, 1983 or 39 years ago today, Sen. Ninoy Aquino, the principal opposition figure against the martial law regime, was assassinated upon his arrival at the Manila International Airport, now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, from a voluntary three-year exile in the United States.
Until now, the real mastermind has not also been determined.
Habang ang pambobomba sa Plaza Miranda ay humantong sa deklarasyon ng batas militar, ang pagpaslang kay Ninoy ay nauwi sa paglaya ng mamamayang Pilipino pagkaraan ng tatlong taon nang mapatalsik nila ang diktador sa mapayapang EDSA people power revolution.
I am narrating this factual background and consequences to highlight that while the Filipino people were the ultimate victims of these two gruesome events, the Liberal Party and its patriotic and courageous leaders were the direct victims.
It is for this reason, among many others, that the Liberal Party must remain active and prevail. Going into a hiatus is never an option because this would be a disservice to the memory of the gallant stalwarts of the Party and a temporization of the Party’s ideals to serve the Filipino people faithfully, and protect and promote genuine democracy.
Ang mga pagsubok ng panbobomba sa Plaza Miranda at ang pagpaslang kay Ninoy Aquino ay patuloy na bumabagabag sa atin ngayon. Gina-garantiya ng Partido Liberal na mauuna ito sa pakikibaka para labanan ang karahasan at panunupil, at pamunuan ang sambayanang Pilipino upang makamit ang tunay na kalayaan at mas mabuting buhay para sa bawat mamamayan.