By Joel Guinto ,AFP
MANILA — Three men arrested over a foiled attempt to bomb the Philippine capital’s airport were also planning to attack the Chinese embassy and one of Manila’s biggest malls, authorities said Tuesday. The men, who were detained on Monday at the airport with a van containing petrol bombs and firecrackers, had planned a series of attacks apparently to publicize their anti-China grievances, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told reporters. “They claim to be defenders of the Filipino people and consider China and (Filipino-Chinese) oligarch taipans’ monopolistic business practices and illegal mining as enemies,” she said. De Lima said the men appeared to be particularly angry at the Philippine government’s perceived “soft” stance towards China in a long-running dispute over competing territorial claims in the South China Sea. De Lima said the group, which may involve more people than those detained, had planned a series of attacks on Monday at buildings linked to China or to the Chinese-Filipino business community. “They also had plans yesterday to firebomb SM Mall of Asia in Pasay city and strafing the Chinese embassy and the DMCI building,” she said. SM Mall of Asia is owned by Henry Sy, the Philippines’ richest man who was born in China. DMCI is a construction firm owned by David Consunji, another ethnic-Chinese Filipino whom Forbes magazine lists as the country’s sixth richest man.