VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Angara wrongly claims Pacquiao first Filipino to speak at Oxford Union

(UPDATED) Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara falsely claimed fellow senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao is the first Filipino to speak before the Oxford Union.


Congratulating his colleague, Angara in a Nov. 9 tweet said:

Congrats to our colleague Sen. @mannypacquiao for speaking at the prestigious Oxford Union at Oxford University. First Filipino if I’m not mistaken, where guests have included personalities like Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Churchill.


Angara is mistaken.

At least two other Filipinos have spoken at the debating society before Pacquiao: Megan Young in 2014, as Twitter user @yogawithben pointed out in a response to Angara’s tweet, and former president Fidel Ramos in 1997.

Young talked about her work as winner of the Miss World pageant in 2013, including her visits to earthquake-hit Haiti and Haiyan-hit areas in the Philippines.

A video of her speech has been uploaded on the Oxford Union Youtube channel.

Ramos spoke of the Philippines’ economic turnaround from being known as “the sick man of Asia” and new foreign policy directions and regional linkages such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The text of his speech is available on the Official Gazette.

Boxing champ-turned-politician Pacquiao, in his Nov. 5 speech, shared his experiences growing up poor and what he called being educated in “the Open University of Life.”

“Manny Pacquiao is the best fairy tale every Filipino could tell and retell to all generations yet to come,” he said.

UPDATE: Angara in a Nov. 13 tweet said:


Oxford Union Youtube channel, Miss World Contestants 2014 Oxford Union Address

Official Gazette, Speech of President Ramos before the Oxford Union Society

Senate of the Philippines, Speech delivered by Pacquiao before the Oxford Union

(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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