FALSE: 'Previous administration' destroyed Marcos bust in Benguet

Claim: The "previous administration" destroyed the huge bust of Ferdinand Marcos in La Union simply because they did not favor the late dictator.

Facebook page “Duterte Supporters Worldwide” posted a photo of the bust when it was still intact. It was captioned: "Giniba ng nakaraang administrasyon ang statue na ito dahil ayaw nila sa kanya. Pero ngayon, balak na ibalik ulit ang dating hitsura ni Marcos na nagsisimbulo ng Marcos Highway, Gusto mo bang ibalik ito? (The previous administration demolished this statue because they did not like him. But there are plans now to restore Marcos' image, which symbolizes the Marcos Highway. Are you in favor of restoring this?)"

The claim was posted on Facebook in 2018, which suggests that it was referring to former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s administration. Facebook flagged the post this year via its Claim Check tool, the social media platform’s dashboard that identifies dubious content for fact checkers to review.

As of Friday, May 31, the post has over 64,000 shares, 17,000 reactions, and 7,400 comments. A similar post by Facebook page “Ka Rex Cayanong” was also flagged by Claim Check, which had 8,000 shares, 2,000 reactions, and 907 comments.

Crowdtangle showed that a total of 23 Facebook pages and groups shared the original post. Five of these accounts shared it within the month of May 2019.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The 99-foot bust of the late strongman in Barangay Taloy Sur, Benguet, was ruined in 2002. It was not destroyed by the Aquino administration, which was in power from 2010 to 2016.

News reports published 17 years ago show that the statue was bombed in December 2002, or 8 years before Benigno Aquino III was sworn into office. A Philippine Star article said that a time bomb was used in the blast, which destroyed the eyes, ears, and nose of the Marcos bust. Some of the police’s initial suspects at the time were treasure hunters, because the bust was believed to hold some of the hidden wealth of the Marcos family.

A separate Philippine Star article said that the communist New People’s Army (NPA), under the Chadli Molintas command, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The group said that the statue "is an abomination that had to be eliminated." 

In 1989, leftists also tried to blow it up but with minimal damage.

The statue of Marcos was built in 1978 and completed in 1980 during Martial Law. It was meant to be the main feature of a 300-hectare Marcos park, but the Marcos administration failed to complete it before the dictator was overthrown in 1986. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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