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Statute of Aquino is held for payment at airport

Customs officials refused Monday to release a life-size bronze statue of assassinated opposition leader Benigno Aquino pending payment of $3,970 in customs duties and additional clearances. The statue, sculptured in Rome, arrived in a sealed crate Sunday for public unveiling at an opposition rally that President Ferdinand E. Marcos's regime had tried to prevent.

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Relatives have said money will be raised to pay $3,970 in duties demanded by airport customs officials for release of the statue. Mr. Aquino's sister Tessy Oreta protested that ''it should not be taxed, because it is a gift to the Filipino people.''