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Tweet falsely claims Ninoy Aquino plagiarized American poet


Former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. did not plagiarize American poet, statesman and writer Archibald Macleish’s quote on freedom. He had attributed it in a speech he never got to deliver.


Twitter user @attyfrancis1, however, said on Nov. 29 that Aquino had passed off as his own the following quote which appeared in Macleish’s “Declaration of Freedom”:


“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith.”


The declaration was written for Freedom House and dedicated to former president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Its first public reading was delivered by Macleish on the tenth anniversary of Freedom House.


@attyfrancis1, which claims to be a parody account, tweeted:

Fact check: Ninoy was not the original author, Ninoy copied it from Archibald Macleish.

Two photos were attached to his tweet: a screenshot of the full quote attributed to Macleish on Goodreads and a quote card displaying the quote alongside Aquino’s photograph, with his full name and signature beneath the text.


Aquino had used the quote and clearly attributed it to Macleish in the speech he was supposed to deliver upon his return to the Philippines on Aug. 21, 1983. He had written:

On one of the long corridors of Harvard University are carved in granite the words of Archibald Macleish:
"How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, and in the final act, by determination and faith."

Aquino traveled to the United States in 1980 for a coronary bypass following to heart attacks. He stayed there for three years with his family and received research funding from Harvard University, where Macleish’s quote was inscribed in its corridors.


The speech, a copy of which is found in the Official Gazette, was never delivered. Aquino was assassinated that day on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, which has since been renamed after him.


His wife and former president Corazon Aquino cited the same quote in her speech before the US Congress on Sept. 18, 1986.


The tweet has 101 retweets and 266 likes as of writing. The quote cards and false claim have been reposted by other Twitter accounts. (TN)

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