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On This Day… A Strange Assasination Attempt

Written by: George Chittenden : 14 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 27th November, back in 1970 when Pope Paul VI was attacked and wounded at Manila airport by a Bolivian painter disguised as a priest! It’s one of the most bizarre assassination attempts in history, involving an unusual cast of characters, from a mentally disturbed Bolivian painter, an incognito Filipino reporter who helped foil his crazy plan and a future dictator who tried to claim credit for saving the life of the leader of the Catholic church. The pope had just arrived in Manila as part of an Asian tour when a man dressed in a black priest’s garb lunged at him with a knife.

The attacker, an expat painter named Benjamin Mendoza, was quickly subdued. A Filipino reporter, Alex Allan, helped subdue the assassin. Interestingly, Allan himself was an impostor that day. After failing to obtain proper media credentials to cover the Pope’s arrival, he managed to get close to the action by dressing up as a police officer. However, the plot thickens.

When the reporter prepared to file a statement on what happened, he was told by a police-general that he was expected to present the “official version” of the assassination attempt. The official version involved the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos karate-chopping the assassin. Thankfully the truth came out in the end. Ferdinand Marcos would eventually be known as one of the most ruthless liars in Philippine history, and a man who stole billions from his people!

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