VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO BASIS for Marcos tape denouncing Cory Aquino over Bataan Nuclear Power Plant

No basis

A Facebook (FB) page revived this month an audio recording supposedly of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. criticizing his successor Corazon “Cory” Aquino over the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). The recording lacks evidence that it was the late dictator actually speaking.

FB page Margel Mariano Love Angel -Forever (created on Nov. 23, 2019) published the post on Jan. 22 and featured three different clips spliced together. The second clip included an image of Marcos and played a sourceless audio recording, allegedly Marcos’, lambasting Aquino for politicking and discontinuing the operation of the BNPP and warning Filipinos that the country will fall after 20 years.

There are no official documents, statements, recordings, or legitimate news reports that corroborate the legitimacy of the audio recording.

A 2014 InterAksyon article mentioned a statement similar to the one heard in the clip, but the report did not confirm its authenticity. Journalist Joel C. Paredes only said Marcos supporters were reusing the quote as part of their calls to revive the mothballed BNPP.

It is not the first time the clip made the rounds on social media. (Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos admonishing Cory on Bataan nuclear power plant UNPROVEN)

The two other clips used in the FB post were the following:

  • An Aksyon news report dated Feb. 14, 2016, about former senator Juan Ponce Enrile saying Marcos planned to use the BNPP for researching and creating nuclear weapons; and
  • An excerpt from an April 8, 1986 episode of ABC News’ Nightline with Ted Koppel, a late-night television news program in the U.S, where Marcos said he did not steal from the Filipino people. A Youtube channel uploaded a snippet from this episode in July 2020.

In several instances, the Marcoses were found guilty of acquiring ill-gotten wealth by the Supreme Court and Sandiganbayan. (Read VERA FILES FACT CHECK: The Marcoses did NOT win all cases filed against them)

The construction of the BNPP started in 1976 in response to the 1970s energy crisis. Initially valued at US$500 million by American manufacturing company Westinghouse Electric Co., the cost ballooned to US$2.3 billion upon completion in 1984. (Read VERA FILES FACT SHEET: A sleeping power giant, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant explained)

The Aquino government decided not to operate the power plant for reasons of safety and economy. The project was marred with safety concerns and corruption allegations before, during, and after its construction.

The circulating video came out a day after Twitter suspended more than 300 accounts promoting Marcos’ son, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., for violating the platform’s manipulation and spam policies. The Marcos camp later disowned the suspended Twitter accounts.

The post has since been viewed over 2.6 million times and has garnered more than 128,000 reactions, 6,500 comments, and 49,000 shares.

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