21 August: Plaza Miranda Bombing (1971) and the Assassination of Ninoy Aquino (1983)

Two major events in Philippine politics happened on the same day 12 years apart: the Plaza Miranda bombing, which created the precedence for what would later become 20 years of authoritarianism, and Ninoy Aquino’s assassination, which sparked the fires of revolt that ended the country’s long period of dictatorship.

The Bombing of Plaza Miranda (1971)

On August 21, 1970, during the Liberal Party’s campaign rally to proclaim it senatorial and mayoral candidates, two hand grenades 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, Senator Eddie Ilarde, Senator Eva Estrada-Kalaw, Liberal Party president Gerardo Roxas, Sergio Osmeña, Jr., son of former President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Sergio Osmeña, Atty. Martin B. Isidro Councilor, Vice Mayor and Congressman for the City of Manila, Ambrosio “King” Lorenzo, Jr. 2nd District Councilor of Manila, and Ramon Bagatsing, the party’s Mayoral Candidate for the City of Manila.

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 are still lodged in his body. Councilor Ambrosio “King” Lorenzo, Jr. was in a coma for two (2) weeks. He lost his sight on his left eye and his hearing on the same side. Ramon Bagatsing, the Liberal Party mayoralty candidate for Manila, lost his left leg and suffered a crushed right cheek bone and a shattered right arm.


The Assassination of Ninoy Aquino (1983)

On August 21, 1983, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon returning home from a three-year self-exile in the United States. The murder sparked a series of protests from an enraged nation that culminated in the February 22-25, 1986 EDSA People Power Revolt, forcing then President Ferdinand E. Marcos to flee to Hawaii.