Lito Atienza clears FM of involvement in Plaza Miranda blast, Ninoy assassination

CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur – Former House Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza Jr. cleared the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr. of any involvement in the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971 and tagged the late Communist Party of the Philippines founder Joma Sison as the mastermind of the incident.

Atienza said during the Pandesal Forum on Monday, August 21, at the Kamuning Bakery Café in Quezon City  which coincided with the 52nd anniversary of the incident that Sison was the mastermind of the August 21, 1971 blast that killed nine persons, including a five-year-old child and Manila Times photographer Ben Roxas.

Ninety-five others were injured, including former Palawan Rep. and House Speaker Ramon V. Mitra Jr., Senators Jovito Salonga, Eddie Ilarde, and Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Liberal Party president Gerardo Roxas, Sergio Osmeña Jr., lawyer Martin B. Isidro, who became councilor, vice mayor, and congressman of Manila, Ambrosio "King" Lorenzo Jr., who served as second district councilor of Manila, and Ramon Bagatsing, the party's mayoral candidate for Manila.

Atienza, who was a member of the Liberal Party (LP) in 1972 and was also injured during the incident, said top party officials and their candidates in the Manila elections polls were holding a rally in Plaza Miranda when a bomb suddenly exploded.

Former military officer-turned-NPA commander and rebel returnee Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus disclosed that Sison ordered the Plaza Miranda bombing.

Corpus, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1967, joined the NPA due to alleged corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 1970 and shortly after led the raid of the Philippine Military Academy armory in Baguio City on December 29 of that year.

Corpus surrendered in 1976 and spent the rest of his life under the Marcos regime in jail until he was granted clemency by President Corazon C. Aquino shortly after the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

Aquino reinstated Corpuz in the AFP in 1987 with the rank of lieutenant colonel, retired as a brigadier general in 2004, and served as the head of the Intelligence Service of the AFP prior to his retirement.

Atienza cleared Marcos Sr. of any involvement in the assassination of former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino III on August 21, 1983.

“I don’t believe that late President Marcos was involved in the assassination of Sen. Benigno Aquino,” Atienza said.

Atienza revealed the two milestones in the country’s history after the two incidents.

“After the 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing, the democracy was lost in the country when then President Marcos declared the suspension of Writ of Habeas Corpus followed by the declaration of Martial Law in 1972,” he said. “Then, after the assassination of Sen. Aquino, we regained the democracy as the people were angered, leading to the happening of the 1986 EDSA Revolution,” he added.