TUBA, Philippines (AP) A bomb defaced a giant stone bust of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos on a northern Philippine hillside yesterday, blowing off its eyes and nose.
No one was hurt in the blast that occurred after midnight in the town of Tuba about 130 miles north of Manila, police Senior Inspector Ruben Gomez said. It was not clear who was responsible.
The explosion tore a hole and ripped off the eyes, nose, ears and most of the upper part of the 100-foot-high bust but did not topple it from the top of a cliff overlooking the South China Sea, where it was erected in 1981, Mr. Gomez said.
Critics have said that the bust was an attempt by Marcos to immortalize himself. It also was bombed in the late 1980s, creating cracks and other minor damage, police said.
Marcos’ 20-year dictatorial reign ended with his ouster in an army-backed bloodless “people power” revolution in 1986, when he went into exile in Hawaii. He died there in 1989.
Imee Marcos, a congresswoman and daughter of the late president, said yesterday that her father had nothing to do with building the bust and had hated it. “My father actually thought it was a terrible idea,” she said. “I don’t take this personally.”
His widow, Imelda, said that she was deeply saddened. “When anything that symbolizes something positive, something beautiful, something right, is destroyed, it is always very sad,” she said.
Shortly after Marcos’ ouster, tribesmen displaced by the building of the bust and an accompanying park and golf course slaughtered a water buffalo and pig and poured the animals’ blood on the statue to “exorcise” it of evil spirits. They then filed cases in court to reclaim their land.
Marcos’ successor, Corazon Aquino, accused him of stealing billions of dollars during his rule and ordered many of his assets seized.
Marcos and his wife faced hundreds of corruption charges for years. More than 9,500 Filipinos were awarded nearly $2 billion by a Hawaiian court in a class-action suit against Marcos for human rights abuses. None has received any money yet.