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Grenades Fired at U.S. Housing Compound

December 14, 1989

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Two grenades were fired today into an American housing and recreation compound, causing minor damage and no injuries, U.S. officials said.

The attack came a week after a coup attempt that was thwarted with the help of U.S. war jets.

Later, a device exploded at the house of an unidentified American diplomat in Manila’s Makati financial district, the U.S. Embassy said. One Filipino workman who was repairing the roof was slightly injured.

The army said more security patrols had been set up near the seaside compound and the U.S. Embassy, 2 1/2 miles away.

Embassy spokesman David Andriessen said the device that exploded at the house could have been fired last week during coup-associated fighting, not intentionally planted.

The U.S. Embassy denounced today’s grenade attack on the U.S. compound as a ″cowardly act″ by ″terrorists″ who could have killed or wounded some of the hundreds of Americans who live and work in the compound.

President Corazon Aquino telephoned U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Platt to assure him that Philippine authorities would take all measures to protect Americans.

In other developments, the government’s intelligence chief told the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee today that rebels were planning another move against the government to be launched in the central Visayas islands and on Mindanao island.

The Senate approved legislation today granting Mrs. Aquino broader powers. The coup, launched Dec. 1 by dissident elements in the military, was the stiffest challenge yet to Mrs. Aquino’s nearly 4-year-old adminstration.

At least 113 people were killed in the mutiny and authorities say about half the estimated 3,000 troops who took part are still at large.

Provincial governors urged Mrs. Aquino to arm civilians to protect the government against a future coup attempt, and a congressional commission recommended transferring major military headquarters from Manila to the U.S.-run Clark Air Base, 50 miles north of Manila.

The U.S. Embassy said the two grenades were fired at about noon at the Seafront compound, which includes the American Club, sports field, commissary and housing for U.S. government employees. One grenade landed near the U.S. post office and another behind an apartment complex, the embassy said.

There was no indication who was responsible, but the incident followed threats against U.S. interests by rebel soldiers after U.S. F-4 Phantom jets flew air cover for government forces during the coup attempt, which ended Saturday.

″The terrorists involved clearly did not care if they harmed innocent civilians including women, children and men,″ Platt said in a statement.

Police said five armed men were seen abandoning a van near the compound soon after the attack. Inside the van, police found a plastic container for a rifle grenade with serial numbers identical to those on a grenade fragment recovered on the compound.

The owner of the van, Armando Pantaleon, told troops that three men armed with .45-caliber pistols, who introduced themselves as ″members of RAM,″ had taken his van at gunpoint about an hour before the attack. RAM is the Reform the Armed Forces Movement, believed to have led the coup attempt.

On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos said remnants of the rebel force still retain the capability to launch ″terrorist attacks, sabotage and assassination.″

Two people were killed and 18 injured when an assailant threw a grenade Saturday into Manila’s main post office.

Mrs. Aquino declared an indefinite state of emergency Dec. 6 and this week asked Congress to grant specific powers under the declaration.

The Senate today approved extending the emergency for six months. The House of Representatives set a 90-day limit Wednesday, and the two versions must go to a compromise committee.

In a related development, the League of Filipino Governors urged Mrs. Aquino to arm civilians in case of another coup attempt. There was no indication whether she approved.

Update hourly