Case closed: Bomb attack on Plaza Miranda

Trolls on my page have a new game. To lure and distract me from the material in Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s diaries, they challenge me to write about the Plaza Miranda Bombing, Hacienda Luisita, Mendiola Massacre, and even the mastermind behind Ninoy’s murder. to expose Aquino. We know where this is going – match Ninoy to Jose Ma. Sison and the Communist Party of the Philippines. That’s old hat. New research suggests that Marcos was also associated with the communists, but with the older Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel as Dr. Joseph Scalice has documented it all and described it beautifully in his 893-page dissertation, “Crisis of Revolutionary Leadership: Martial Law and the Communist Parties of the Philippines, 1959-1974” (University of California, Berkley, 2017). Coming from a generation known as the “Marcos Babies” who came of age during martial law, reading Scalice’s dissertation made the scales and blinders fall on my eyes.

First, he made it clear that, contrary to popular belief, there is not one monolithic Communist Party of the Philippines. There are two of the post-war Sino-Soviet split: the pro-Moscow Partido Komunist ng Pilipinas (PKP) and the pro-Beijing Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Second, he made it clear to anyone who insisted that Marcos declare martial law to save the Philippines and the Filipinos from the danger of communism, which both the PKP and the CPP made possible or enabled Marcos and martial law .

Going through the physical copies of the pre-martial law Chronicle in the Lopez Museum before the pandemic gave me appreciation for the groundbreaking research Scalice did in his dissertation. With the exception of the librarians and archivists who indexed the Philippine Radical Papers in the UP Main Library, Scalice is probably the only historian who has gone through every item from the boxes. He was not satisfied with that, his data was checked and contextualized by Philippine dailies and weeklies from 1969 to 1974. Scalice deserves a medal, no ad hominems, no defamatory claims that he is a CIA agent, no veiled threat of bodily harm or murder by being labeled a ‘Trotskyite’.

Scalice devoted 72 pages of his dissertation to the Plaza Miranda bombing beautifully titled “Three Grenades in August,” a title carefully crafted like Barbara Tuchman’s book “The Guns of August” on World War I. Many people reading this today will be surprised to note that August 21, declared a public holiday since 2004 to commemorate the 1983 murder of Ninoy Aquino, is in fact the same date as the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing that prompted Marcos. brought the writ of habeas corpus to suspend, thus ending the chain of events leading up to the declaration of martial law in September 1972.

Three grenades were thrown onto the stage where a Liberal Party campaign was underway. Ninoy Aquino was on his way to Plaza Miranda when the grenades went off, killing nine and wounding more than a hundred. It could have been worse, only two of the three grenades exploded. Details of the bombing, including gruesome photos, can be found in the newspapers of the time. Once the smoke cleared and the injured were taken to hospital, the blame game began: the Liberal Party blamed Marcos. The CPP blamed Marcos. Marcos blamed the CPP.

Investigations were launched and for a while the blame shifted to Manila Mayor Antonio Villegas, who reportedly held a grudge against LP for treating Ramon Bagatsing against him. Through the loyal Alfredo S. Lim, Villegas got the bombers out of prison. If caught, these criminals had an airtight alibi. Ninoy was also blamed for being absent from the LP event.

Scalice argues that the PKP bombing was known to Marcos and the military; their mode was to scare, not harm. Plaza Miranda was different, there were deaths and injuries. Despite Jose Ma’s denials. Sison, three testimonies are cited by Scalice: Central Committee member Noli Collantes, who surrendered in 1972, testified that the CPP was responsible, Joma ordered the bombing, Ninoy was an accomplice; Ruben Guevarra pointed to Joma and the CPP in 1981; Victor Corpuz was present when Sison planned the bombardment. Case closed until compelling evidence to the contrary emerges.

Comments are welcome on [email protected]

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