Sunday, August 23, 2009

Distilling muddled waters

“Good water cannot come from a muddled pond.” – Rizal

Last Friday was a good occasion to clear up a lot of muddled waters from the wellspring of Philippine history. August 21 was the anniversary of two very significant but very muddled events: The 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing and the 1983 Ninoy Aquino assassination. The muddle consists of erroneous conclusions still repeated by local and foreign media, pundits and ignorant peoples alike, all enshrined in many pseudo-historical resource materials. Although the two grizzly incidents both occurred on August 21, only 12 years apart, these still spook the minds of many Filipinos. Today, the post-Edsa I, II and III generations think of these only as stories and, thus, take the wrong conclusions as gospel.

Too many have used disinformation to serve their own purposes. Certain media networks and political parties have deliberately kept established facts under the rug to keep them out of public consciousness.

The only existing documentary of the bombing that has since been put on YouTube depicts a host of personages being interviewed from their hospital beds or wheelchairs. Among them, including the late Sen. Gerardo Roxas, John Osmeña, Eva Estrada-Kalaw, plus a dozen others, it was only then senatorial candidate Eddie Ilarde who had a correct assessment of who might have perpetrated the bombing.

Ilarde, who had almost lost his foot in the blast, was then being interviewed at the nearest medical facility to Plaza Miranda, the Singian Clinic near Malacañang. Speaking to the foreign press, he pointed to certain “ideologues” as behind the bombing, which deviated from his party mates’ “script.” Quite naturally, he got immediately chastised for not pinning the blame on Marcos as the whole world seemed to be doing at that time.

Another important guest alongside Ilarde in my upcoming Tuesday TV program is columnist Eric Espina. Based on the research he did and the various evidences he culled--books by two bombing victims, former Senators Jovito Salonga and Eva Estrada-Kalaw, and a third one by former AFP-then-communist turncoat Victor Corpus, all these point to Jose Ma. Sison and the New People’s Army (NPA) as the supposed “brains.”

I already had an inkling of this 10 years after Plaza Miranda when I, as secretary to the opposition coalition UNIDO, often overheard discussions among Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts who were convinced that Ninoy Aquino had prior knowledge of this event. Ninoy, as we know, was late for the LP’s miting de avance so he was spared from the fate of his colleagues in that blast. In later years, of course, more testimonies came from former NPA leaders like Fluellen Ortigas to support this.

So, after 38 years, Ilarde and all those who held a contrary view have been proven right.

Yet to this day, what many fail to ask about the Plaza Miranda bombing is: Cui bono? Or, who stood to benefit? Sen. Ilarde certainly knew Marcos was not stupid to have made something that would generate sympathy for his rivals. Even though the LP claimed that Marcos had wanted a stop to the so-called Haruta case scandal, on hindsight, it wasn’t at all very significant compared to his regime’s other controversies.

Still, the “Marcos as the Plaza Miranda bombing mastermind” tale, no matter how implausible to sober analysts, continues to be a myth. And as John F. Kennedy said: “The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.”

The late President Ferdinand Marcos was certainly a big loser in the Plaza Miranda bombing incident as sympathy poured onto the LP senatorial bandwagon that swept it to power. At the same time, the stigma that became attached to him from it would also haunt him throughout his political and biological life.

On the flip side, the biggest gainer from that gruesome but brilliant “false flag” project was Sison and his Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), who intensified the contradictions within the ruling class’ two-party system, radicalized the youth into the arms of the CPP, and left the rest of society in a daze against Marcos. Sison would have probably gotten away with it had internal conflicts within the CPP, including the execution of Danny Cordero, the identified grenade thrower, not eventually caused defections that allowed the true story to leak out.

Sadly, however, all the befuddling tales on the Plaza Miranda Bombing as told by mainstream media, particularly ABS-CBN, never give us a hint of the real culprits. Even institutions like the Catholic Church and the intelligentsia, who help shape our school curricula, share the same blindness. For vested interests like ABS-CBN, the anti-Marcos groups, the CPP-linked organizations, in tandem with the Church plus the economic oligarchs, this is understandable. The legitimacy of what they’ve been doing for almost 40 years now squarely depends on this continuing demonization of Marcos. The same is true for the US and foreign Big Business in their desire to open up the Philippines for liberalization and globalization. Marcos’ demonization only beclouded the benefits of the late leader’s protectionist and development-driven economic policies. But, in all, the country has become the biggest loser in this Plaza Miranda bombing myth.

With all that have transpired after Marcos, the perpetuators of this myth thus owe the nation an apology for waylaying us for so long. Now that truth is at hand, we are another step closer to setting ourselves free. This, along with another truth we will uncover next, the mystery behind the brains of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination, will surely help us achieve victory in this cause.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 7, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on the TVU Internet Channel 61713 with former Sen. Eddie Ilarde and Bulletin columnist Eric Espina on “The August 21 Mysteries;” also visit

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