1971 Plaza Miranda bombing
The Plaza Miranda bombing occurred during a political campaign
Political campaign
A political campaign is an organized effort which seeks to influence the decision making process within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaigns, wherein representatives are chosen or referendums are decided...

 rally of the Liberal Party
Liberal Party (Philippines)
The Liberal Party of the Philippines is a liberal party in the Philippines, founded by then senators Senate President Manuel Roxas, Senate President Pro-Tempore Elpidio Quirino, and former 9th Senatorial District Senator Jose Avelino, on November 24, 1945 by a breakaway Liberal group from the...

 at Plaza Miranda in the district of Quiapo, Manila
Quiapo, Manila
Quiapo is a district and city square of Manila. Referred as the "Old Downtown", Quiapo in known for where cheap buys or goods are being sold at rock-bottom prices and was the home of the Quiapo Church, where the feast for the Black Nazarene is held, with over millions of people attending...

 in the Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 on August 21, 1971. It caused nine deaths and injured 95 others.

The bombing

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 grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s 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
Jovito Salonga
Jovito "Jovy" Reyes Salonga is a Filipino nationalist politician and lawyer, as well as a leading opposition leader during the Marcos regime from 1972, when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, until 1986, when Marcos was deposed as a result of a bloodless revolution...

, Senator Eddie Ilarde
Eddie Ilarde
Edgar U. Ilarde , also known as Eddie Ilarde, is a Filipino radio and television host who was elected to one term in the Philippine Senate. He also served one term each as a Congressman and as an Assemblyman of the Interim Batasang Pambansa...

, Senator Eva Estrada-Kalaw
Eva Estrada-Kalaw
Eva Reynada Estrada-Kalaw is a Filipino politician, served as a Senator in the Senate of the Philippines for 7 years. . Serving in Senate during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos , she was part of a major transformation in Philippine domestic and foreign policies.-Early life:Evangelina R...

, Liberal Party president Gerardo Roxas
Gerardo Roxas
Gerardo Manuel Roxas y De Leon , better known as Gerry Roxas or Gerardo M. Roxas, was one of two children of former Philippine President Manuel Roxas...

 and Sergio Osmeña, Jr., son of former President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines
Commonwealth of the Philippines
The Commonwealth of the Philippines was a designation of the Philippines from 1935 to 1946 when the country was a commonwealth of the United States. The Commonwealth was created by the Tydings-McDuffie Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1934. When Manuel L...

, Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña
Sergio Osmeña y Suico was a Filipino politician who served as the 4th President of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946. He was Vice President under Manuel L. Quezon, and rose to the presidency upon Quezon's death in 1944, being the oldest Philippine president to hold office at age 65...



Suspicion of responsibility for the blast initially fell upon incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Marcos
Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr. was a Filipino leader and an authoritarian President of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. He was a lawyer, member of the Philippine House of Representatives and a member of the Philippine Senate...

, 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
Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines is a leading communist party in the Philippines. It remains an underground political organization since its founding on December 26, 1968 and has been operating in clandestine manner since its founding...

 under José María Sison
José María Sison
Jose Maria Sison is a writer and activist who reorganized the Communist Party of the Philippines and added elements of Maoism to its philosophy....

. Jovito Salonga, in his autobiography
An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

, states his belief that Sison and the CPP were responsible. Former New People's Army
New People's Army
The New People's Army is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. It was formed on March 29, 1969. The Maoist NPA conducts its armed guerrilla struggle based on the strategical line of 'protracted people's war'.The NPA exacts so called "revolutionary taxes" from business owners...

 commander, now Armed Forces of the Philippines
Armed Forces of the Philippines
The Armed Forces of the Philippines is composed of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force...

 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.

José María Sison continues to deny these claims, and the CPP has never released any official confirmation of their culpability in the incident.

Marcos, for his part, also blamed the communists; citing a communist plot to destabilize the government, emergency powers
State of emergency
A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend some normal functions of the executive, legislative and judicial powers, alert citizens to change their normal behaviours, or order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. It can also be used as a rationale...

. He suspended 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
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...

 are still lodged in his body. Ramon Bagatsing, the Liberal Party mayoralty candidate for Manila, lost his leg.

Bearing on the election

In a setback for Marcos' ruling Nacionalista Party
Nacionalista Party
The Nacionalista Party is the oldest political party in the Philippines today and was responsible for leading the country throughout the majority of the 20th century since its founding in 1907...

, the Liberals took six of the eight contested Senate seats, as well as the Manila mayoralty.


On August 21, 2002, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

unveiled a commemorative marker in Plaza Miranda in honor of the nine innocent civilians killed in the blast.
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