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Manila Blast Injures 10; Officials Fear New Wave of Terrorism

October 15, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

MANILA — A powerful bomb ripped through the front of a hotel Wednesday in Manila's Makati banking district, injuring at least 10 bystanders. It was the second explosion in the capital in three days.

Police officials said they feared that the bombing of the hotel, the Manila Garden, which caters to American and Japanese businessmen, might signal the beginning of another round of urban terrorism by extremists on the political left and right.

Investigators said they had no leads to the identity of the bombers, and no group came forth to claim responsibility.

The investigators said the bomb was a homemade device. One said the bombers' intent was to send "a message," and like most of the bombings that have plagued Manila this year, it was designed to cause a minimum number of injuries.

The Manila Garden is one of the most popular hotels among foreign businessmen. According to tourism figures put out by the government only a few hours before the bombing, the hotel registered the highest occupancy rate of Manila's 12 leading hotels in the first nine months of 1987. No foreigners were among those injured Wednesday.

Shortly before the blast, an armed forces spokesman told reporters that guerrillas of the Communist New People's Army had been sent into Manila in an attempt to further destabilize the government of President Corazon Aquino.

There have been more than a dozen bombings in Manila this year. Until this week, the most recent incidents were in July. Then, on Monday, after a lull of three months, a crude bomb exploded in a department store in suburban Quezon City. Responsibility has not been fixed in any of the bombings.

Political analysts speculated that Wednesday's bombing may have been the work of renegade troops loyal to Col. Gregorio Honasan, who led the Aug. 28 coup attempt.

In several interviews since he went into hiding after the failed coup, Honasan has vowed to continue his campaign to force Aquino into sweeping political and military reforms by means of "non-confrontational" methods.

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