VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Duterte did NOT claim that Pacquiao paid for college diploma

YouTube channel BANAT NEWS TV has spread disinformation once again, this time spuriously making it appear that President Rodrigo Duterte “gave proof” that Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao paid the University of Makati (UMak) to get a college diploma.

The headline of its June 12 video was dubiously posed as a question: “JUST IN: CONFIRMED! PRES DUTERTE,PINATUNAYANG PACQUIAO BINAYARAN lang ang COLLEGE DIPLOMA sa UMAK (President Duterte proves Pacquiao just paid for his UMak college diploma)?”

This is false. Not once was Duterte mentioned in the video. The president has not referred to the senator’s degree in recent speeches either.

That Pacquiao took only three months to finish his political science degree and that he paid the university to get it — claims both made by the narrator of BANAT NEWS TV — have been debunked by a university official.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 2019, UMak vice president for academic affairs Elxyzur Ramos said the boxer-turned-lawmaker became a student in August 2018 and graduated 16 months later in December 2019. He was enrolled under the university’s College of Continuing, Advanced and Professional Studies (CCAPS) program.

On the allegations that Pacquiao paid for his diploma, the UMak administrator told the Inquirer: “UMak is not a for-profit institution. We don’t need money as we are greatly provided for.” The school is a public, city government-funded university. It had a budget of P1 billion in 2018.

BANAT NEWS TV’s video got 162,000 views and more than 900 interactions on Facebook (FB). It emerged amid ongoing tensions between supporters of Duterte and Pacquiao within their political party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

The video was also uploaded on FB by the pages Rodante Marcoleta live, News Viral TH, and Rodante Marcoleta Supporters Live, garnering 86,000 more interactions and an additional 724,000 views.

BANAT NEWS TV, which has previously shared disinformation, was created in December 2015. FB page Rodante Marcoleta was created in April 2017, News Viral TH in May 2020, and Rodante Marcoleta Supporters Live in August 2020.


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

FOR FURTHER READING

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Pacquiao graduated from CCAPS program in UMak; degree not fake

The video based its claim on a July 5 column of Bobi Tiglao in the Manila Times.

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Claim that Pacquiao obtained college degree in three months NEEDS CONTEXT

Pacquiao completed his eligibility requirements for a degree in 16 months not three, and this is…

VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video repeats FALSE claim that Pacquiao was ‘removed’ from PDP-Laban

A similar post was debunked by VERA Files Fact Check on May 19.

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Founded in March 2008, VERA Files is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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