The horrors of the Plaza Miranda bombing on August 21, 1971 and Ninoy Aquino’s assassination on August 21, 1983 still haunt Filipinos as we commemorate the twin tragedies.
Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, the lone authentic House opposition member, underscored this, even as he decried that the “real masterminds of both vile and abhorrent crimes have never been brought to justice.”
Lagman said 51 years ago, “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.”
Twelve years later, on the exact same date, Sen. Ninoy Aquino, the principal opposition figure against the martial law regime, was brutally slain as he arrived at the Manila International Airport from three years of voluntary exile in the United States.
Lagman stated that “while the Plaza Miranda bombing eventually led to the declaration of martial law the following year, the assassination of Ninoy ultimately led to the people’s liberation as they ousted the dictator in the peaceful EDSA people power revolution.”
The Bicol solon emphasized that “although the Filipino people were the ultimate victims of these two gruesome events, the Liberal Party (LP) and its patriotic and courageous leaders were the direct victims.”
In Plaza Miranda bombing, 10 persons were killed and 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.
When the prominent LP senator Ninoy Aquino was slain, he was the most vocal critic of the dictator and his martial law regime.
He added that the “challenges of the Plaza Miranda bombing and the killing of Ninoy Aquino continue to confront us today.”
EDCEL C. LAGMAN