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Justice Secretary Escapes Injury in Bomb Attack

November 19, 1990

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Four bombs exploded before dawn Monday at the suburban home of the Philippine justice secretary, but he and his family escaped injury.

The official, Franklin Drilon, said he, his wife Violetta and two young sons were sleeping in the house at the time of the attack.

There was no claim of responsibility, and Drilon said he did not know who the assailants were. But he said at least one of the bombs contained the plastic explosive C-4, often used by right-wing military extremists.

The blasts heavily damaged a wall around the house, shattered windows, overturned furniture and blasted a hole three feet deep in the yard.

In a separate incident Monday, assailants firing from passing vehicles killed a city official and three companions in Cabanatuan City, 60 miles north of Manila.

The military said Andres Quibuyen, secretary of Cabanatuan Mayor Honorato Perez, was being driven to the city hall when about four men in a car and four others in a jeep opened fire, killing him, his driver and two other people. Another companion was injured in the attack.

The motive for the attack was unknown.

Meanwhile, published reports said military intelligence expects right-wing extremists to launch a new coup attempt between Nov. 30 and Dec. 10.

The Manila Chronicle and The Manila Times on Monday quoted unnamed military sources as saying the plan called for coordinated uprisings in northern and southern provinces directed by renegade Commodore Domingo Calajate, a leader of last December’s failed coup.

Last month, mutineers staged a three-day uprising in Mindanao island that the military said was to have been the trigger for a series of nationwide revolts. The mutiny ended Oct. 6 when coup leader Col. Alexander Noble surrendered.

Drilon’s department is responsible for prosecuting extremists including the military dissidents responsible for seven armed uprisings since President Corazon Aquino took office four years ago.

Mrs. Aquino said she was shocked at the attack on her justice secretary.

″The important thing is for us not to lose heart because of what we are doing because we believe in democracy,″ Mrs. Aquino said at a news conference. ″We who believe in democracy should not be coerced into surrendering to these terrorists.″

Drilon was appointed justice secretary last Dec. 31 as part of a Cabinet shakeup following a bloody coup attempt earlier in the month. He had served as labor secretary since 1987.

He also serves as chairman of the Cabinet Security Committee, which advises Mrs. Aquino on national security issues.

Update hourly