VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bongbong Marcos’ spox wrongly claims Marcos ‘never misrepresented’ Oxford education

Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, chief of staff of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., claimed in a statement that the presidential aspirant has always been honest with his educational attainment from the University of Oxford in England.

This is false. In at least three instances, Marcos Jr. made inaccurate assertions on his credentials.

STATEMENT

In a statement released to reporters on Oct. 23, Rodriguez said:

“We stand by the Degree confirmation which was issued by the University of Oxford. It is up to anyone to question or challenge this with the said university if they so please.”

Source: ABS-CBN News, Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos’ camp..., Oct. 23, 2021; Inquirer.net official Twitter account, JUST IN: Bongbong Marcos' camp responds to the statement of Oxford Philippines Society..., Oct. 23, 2021; Rappler, Oxford: Bongbong Marcos' special diploma 'not a full graduate diploma', Oct. 27, 2021

He then went on to say:

“Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos has always been forthright on his conferment of a special diploma in social studies by the distinguish (sic) university and has never misrepresented his Oxford education.”

Source: Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN reporter official Twitter account, Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos’ camp... , Oct. 23, 2021; Inquirer.net official Twitter account, JUST IN: Bongbong Marcos' camp responds to the statement of Oxford Philippines Society..., Oct. 23, 2021; Rappler, Oxford: Bongbong Marcos' special diploma 'not a full graduate diploma', Oct. 27, 2021

Rodriguez’s claim came after Oxford Philippines Society, an organization of some 200 Filipino students and alumni of the prestigious university, published a statement on Oct. 22 addressing “wrong information” about Marcos Jr.’s educational qualifications that have been circulating online.

FACT

An archived copy of Marcos Jr.'s biography and resumé on the Senate website when he was a lawmaker from 2010 to 2015 showed that he "earned" a bachelor's degree in Political Science, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford in 1978.

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Oxford confirmed to VERA Files Fact Check in an Oct. 27 email that Marcos Jr. “matriculated at the University of Oxford in 1975 to read for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE).”

According to university records, the former senator “did not complete his degree,” but was awarded a special diploma in social studies in 1978.

In at least two media interviews, Marcos Jr. wrongly equated his special diploma to a bachelor's degree.

The former senator did this in a chance interview with Rappler in 2015 which went this way:

“Q: So you said you got a diploma?

Marcos Jr.: Mhmm. Yeah, I got a diploma. What do you get when you graduate? You get a diploma.

Q: But you also have a degree?

Marcos Jr.: I suppose — I got my diploma eh.”

Source: Rappler Official Youtube Channel, Bongbong Marcos on whether he has Oxford degree: I suppose, March 2, 2015, watch from 1:33 to 1:44

Meanwhile, in an interview on DZMM radio in January 2016, Marcos Jr., who was running for vice president that year, was asked if a special diploma was the same as a degree in Oxford.

He answered, “I suppose there are differences but ang ending no’n (the end of it) is that it’s a bachelor’s degree.”

In the Oct. 27 email, Oxford further clarified to VERA Files Fact Check that the special diploma awarded to Marcos Jr. was “not a full graduate diploma.” It said:

“The Special Diploma, which the University no longer offers, was open to both undergraduates and graduates. Non-University members could also read for it under certain circumstances. There is no recorded link between the BA (in Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and the Special Diploma, and the Special Diploma was not a full graduate Diploma.”

Source: Personal Communication (Email), Oxford Head of University Communications, Oct. 27, 2021

Reports show that the university has been debunking claims on Marcos Jr.'s bachelor's degree since 1983.


Sources


Oxford Philippines Society, OFFICIAL STATEMENT OF THE OXFORD PHILIPPINES SOCIETY, Oct. 22, 2021

Kaalaman PH Media Facebook page, BASAHIN: VIRAL ANG PAHAYAG NA NAGBIBIGAY…, Oct. 21, 2021

Bong bong Marcos tayo sa 2022 Facebook page, "100 Notable alumni of University of Oxford" Nag search ako sa Google chrome ito ang lumabas …, Oct. 23, 2021

Global BBM for President Movement 2022 Facebook group, #reposted Bongbong Marcos (BBM) Degree at University of Oxford..., Oct. 26, 2021

ABS-CBN News, Presidential aspirant Bongbong Marcos’ camp... , Oct. 23, 2021

Inquirer.net official Twitter account, JUST IN: Bongbong Marcos' camp responds to the statement of Oxford Philippines Society..., Oct. 23, 2021

Rappler, Oxford: Bongbong Marcos' special diploma 'not a full graduate diploma', Oct. 27, 2021

Senate of the Philippines, Bongbong Marcos Biography (Archived), Accessed Oct. 27, 2021

Senate of the Philippines, Bongbong Marcos Resumé (Archived), Accessed Oct. 27, 2021

ABS-CBN News Official Youtube Channel, Marcos: Special diploma from Oxford is same as bachelor's degree, Jan. 21, 2016

Rappler Official Youtube Channel, Bongbong Marcos on whether he has Oxford degree: I suppose, March 2, 2015

Personal Communication (Email), Oxford Head of University Communications, Oct. 27, 2021

ABS-CBN News, Oxford University confirms Marcos Jr. did not graduate, failed to complete degree, Oct. 27, 2021

PressONE.PH, Oxford confirms Bongbong did not finish college, only has ‘special diploma’, Oct. 28, 2021

Philstar Life, A 1983 letter from Oxford University further proves Bongbong Marcos did not complete his degree, Oct. 28, 2021

Religious of the Good Shepherd, Philippines-Japan, OUR DUTY IS TO THE TRUTH (Letter to Sister Mary, April 20, 1983), Oct. 27, 2021


(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.)

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Send us a message here or here.

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