No, this statue of late Philippine dictator Marcos was not destroyed by the ‘past’ president’s administration

  • This article is more than one year old.
  • Published on May 24, 2019 at 08:55
  • Updated on May 24, 2019 at 11:18
  • 3 min read
  • By AFP Philippines
A photo has been shared tens of thousands of times in multiple Facebook posts alongside a claim that a huge statue of the face of late Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was destroyed by the “past” presidential administration, which took power in 2010. The claim is false; the statue was destroyed in an explosion in 2002, which the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines claimed responsibility for.

The claim was made in this Facebook post, shared more than 64,000 times, and this one, shared about 8,000 times, and this one shared 240 times. They were published between August and September 2018.

The statue of the deceased dictator was built along a highway in the northern part of the Philippines during the period when Marcos ruled the country under martial law from 1972-1981. Here is an LA times report from the 1980s about the sculpture.

Marcos was chased into exile in 1986 by a peaceful uprising, described on this government website. 

Below is a screenshot of one of the posts whose Tagalog caption translates to English as:

“LOOK: The past administration destroyed this statue because they do not like him. But now, there's a plan to restore the former bust of Marcos, which symbolizes the Marcos highway, to how it looked like before, Do you want to see this restored?”

A screenshot of the misleading Facebook post

The “past administration” refers to the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, which started in 2010 and ended in 2016. Here is a Straits Times report published June 30, 2016, about Aquino stepping down.

Aquino was replaced by Rodrigo Duterte, who has been president since June 2016. Here is his inauguration speech on YouTube.

The statue was heavily damaged in a December 2002 explosion, eight years before Aquino came into power in 2010. BBC reports about these respective events are here and here.

The New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, claimed responsibility for the blast, as reported by the Phil Star here at the time. 

Below is a screenshot of the Phil Star article dated December 31, 2002:

Screenshot of website

Here is another 2002 report about the bust’s destruction, from the news agency Union of Catholic Asian News, and here is a newsletter by the NPA from that year written in the local dialect, which claims responsibility for the act.

Translated to English, it says in part: “The destruction of the Marcos monument by the CPP-NPA is merely a symbolic first step. It’s an unpleasant reminder that the Marcoses have not been punished for their crimes”.

Comments like the one below showed that some Facebook users believed the post.

The Tagalog comment translates to English as: “Yes, definitely yes, these vengeful aquinos, it’s your face who should be destroyed!”. The identity of the commenter has been redacted:

Screenshot of comment

According to the Crowdtangle social media monitoring tool, the post has been shared 71,680 times by Facebook groups and pages which support Duterte and the Marcoses. Data from the tool is shown below:

Screenshot of Crowdtangle data

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