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was not until the Plaza Miranda bombing however on August 21, 1971 that the pattern of direct

confrontation between Marcos and Aquino emerged. At 9:15 pm, at the kick-off rally of the
Liberal Party, the candidates had formed a line on a makeshift platform and were raising their
hands as the crowd applauded. The band played, a fireworks display drew all eyes, when
suddenly there were two loud explosions that obviously were not part of the show. In an instant
the stage became a scene of wild carnage. The police later discovered two fragmentation
grenades that had been thrown at the stage by "unknown persons". Eight people died, and 120
others were wounded, many critically.

As Aquino was the only Liberal Party senatorial candidate not present at the incident, many
assumed that Aquino's NPA friends tipped him off in advance.[17] Years later, some former
Communists claimed responsibility and accused Aquino of being involved, but the party
leadership has dismissed this as absurd. No one has ever been prosecuted for the attack.[18] Most
historians continue to suspect Marcos as he is known to have used false flag attacks as a pretext
for his declaration of martial law at this time.[19][20]

Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 through proclamation 1081 [21] and he went
on air to broadcast his declaration on midnight of September 23.[22] Aquino was one of the first
to be arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms
and subversion. He was tried before Military Commission No. 2 headed by Major-General Jose
Syjuco.

On April 4, 1975, Aquino announced that he was going on a hunger strike, a fast to the death to
protest the injustices of his military trial. Ten days through his hunger strike, he instructed his
lawyers to withdraw all motions he had submitted to the Supreme Court. As weeks went by, he
subsisted solely on salt tablets, sodium bicarbonate, amino acids, and two glasses of water a day.
Even as he grew weaker, suffering from chills and cramps, soldiers forcibly dragged him to the
military tribunal's session. His family and hundreds of friends and supporters heard Mass nightly
at the Santuario de San Jose in Greenhills, San Juan, praying for his survival. Near the end,
Aquino's weight had dropped from 54 to 36 kilos. Aquino nonetheless was able to walk
throughout his ordeal. On May 13, 1975, on the 40th day, his family and several priests and
friends, begged him to end his fast, pointing out that even Christ fasted only for 40 days. He
acquiesced, confident that he had made a symbolic gesture. But he remained in prison, and the
trial continued, drawn out for several years. On November 25, 1977, the Military Commission
charged Aquino along with NPA leaders Bernabe Buscayno (Commander Dante) and Lt. Victor
Corpuz, guilty of all charges and sentenced them to death by firing squad.[23] The death sentence
was never carried out as Aquino's death sentence was commuted by President Marcos in May
1980.[24]