VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Activist nun Mary John Mananzan DID NOT say Ninoy Aquino is ‘not a hero’

A 2016 statement by activist nun Sr. Mary John Mananzan has been skewed by disinformation peddlers, making it look like she is criticizing the Aquinos instead of the Marcoses.

The false quote card — published eight times on Facebook (FB) from May 7 to 8 — showed Mananzan calling out the Aquino family for their “corruption,” and for “arresting,” “torturing,” and “killing” people. She was also quoted as saying that Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. is “not a hero.”

This is a manipulation of Mananzan’s November 2016 statement following the controversial burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Her comments were captured in a video uploaded Nov. 22, 2016 by the FB page Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law.

In the clip, Mananzan called on the people to show their anger towards the "hero's burial" Marcos was given. "Talagang nakakagalit at nakakalungkot ang ginawa ng pamilyang Marcos ... All of us know that he is not a hero. Ang pangungurakot, yung pag-aaresto ng mga tao, yung pagto-torture ng mga tao, yung pagpapatay ng mga tao, lahat ‘yan ay anti-hero. ‘Yun talaga ang lalabanan ng isang bayani. (What the Marcos family did is really causing anger and sadness ... The corruption, the arrests of people, the torture of people, the killings - those are anti-hero. Those are what a true hero would oppose)," she said.

A version of this statement with slight inaccuracies was published in a quote card by the page Bongbong Marcos Loyalist 2022 this May 6.

The currently circulating fake quote card is an altered version of the May 6 graphic, which replaced the mention of “paiilang (sic) Marcos” with “pamilyang Aquino.” The edited graphic also included the phrases “Ninoy is not a Hero” and “Cory fake President,” referring to Ninoy’s wife Corazon who succeeded Marcos.

The altered quote card surfaced two days after President Rodrigo Duterte once again blamed the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III for China’s occupation of disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea. As of May 12, 287 Chinese militia vessels continue to flock in waters within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, according to the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.

Mananzan’s false quote card was posted by four different FB accounts, across several FB groups including BBM for President 2022 & Imee Marcos for VP a SOLID Loyalist Movement, GENERAL PARLADE JR MOVEMENT TO END INSURGENCY, and BBM 2022 MARCOS LOYALIST ALLIANCE.

Three of the FB accounts curiously bore the name of just one person, with slight variations in his middle name and one account adding the word “Prince” before the full name.

These posts collectively received over 1,000 reactions and 200 shares from FB users.

(Editor's Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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