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Explosives Found at City’s Main Fuel Storage Depot

November 20, 1990

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ More than 130 sticks of dynamite and other explosives were found today in the capital’s main oil storage area one day after a bombing attack on the home of the country’s justice secretary.

The incident was the latest sign of rising political tension in Manila. On Monday, The Manila Times and The Manila Chronicle quoted unidentified military sources as saying they expected right-wing extremists to launch a new coup attempt next month.

Police said the amount of explosives placed at the oil depot could have set off a huge fire. The depot is in a densely populated residential district of flimsy, frame houses.

″The ones who planted the bombs knew what they were doing,″ police Cpl. Edilberto Capacete said.

Police said they did not know who planted the explosives, which were booby-trapped to go off if disturbed.

They said a janitor and a security guard found the explosives near a group of six storage tanks at a Shell Oil Co. facility, about a mile east of President Corazon Aquino’s office.

Facundo Roco, Shell company spokesman, said the bombs were placed in four pipes leading to six fuel tanks. Each fuel tank had a capacity of 50,000 liters, he said.

Shell officials said the depot can store up to 7.9 million gallons of fuel, but a spokesman refused to say how much oil was actually stored there at the time.

On Monday, four bombs hurled by unknown assailants exploded at the home of Justice Secretary Franklin Drilon but he, his wife and two children escaped injury.

Drilon is responsible for prosecuting left-wing and right-wing extremists opposed to President Corazon Aquino.

Also today, the military said Communist rebels killed five civilian militiamen and two soldiers in an ambush in a remote village in the southern Philippines. There were no reports of casualties on the rebel side in Monday’s attack.

The military said about 70 New People’s Army guerrillas ambushed a platoon of army soldiers and militiamen on patrol near the town of Lapuyan, about 85 miles west of Iligan. Iligan is about 500 miles south of Manila.

The rebels have been waging a 21-year-old insurgency to establish a Marxist state.

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