EXCLUSIVE: Did Bongbong Marcos lie about Oxford, Wharton?

Photo by Edward Ganal via senate.gov.ph

Photo by Edward Ganal via senate.gov.ph

By Marites Dañguilan Vitug/rappler.com – During his presidency, Ferdinand Marcos sent his only son and namesake, Ferdinand Jr or Bongbong, to prestigious schools in England and the US.

Now a senator, Bongbong Marcos lists in his resumé the results of his overseas education: a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy, politics* and economics from Oxford University (1975-1978) and a master’s in business administration (MBA) from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (1979-1981).

29 years after EDSA 1, when his father was deposed by a popular rebellion, Marcos Jr is mentioned as one of the possible candidates in the 2016 presidential elections. If his mother Imelda were to be followed, Marcos Jr would run for president and bring the family back to Malacañang.

Our fact-checking shows, however, that Marcos Jr’s claims are false. Oxford University and Wharton School records do not show any Ferdinand Marcos Jr in their lists of graduates.

A visual timeline, posted on Marcos Jr’s website, details milestones in his life. It is interesting that his grade school years at La Salle Greenhills (1963-1969) are complete with report cards and class photos, but his college and post-graduate years in Oxford and Wharton School, respectively, are empty, except for a single picture of him, in a beret, in the Oxford campus.

‘Unequivocal fraud’

At Oxford, Marcos Jr attended St Edmund Hall, one of its colleges, starting October 1975. He claims to have graduated in 1978 but the 1977-1978 university calendar, which contains the names of all those sitting for their final exams in each subject, does not include him. The calendar, which is filed at the University’s Bodleian Library, is accessible to the public.

We sent e-mails inquiring about the status of Senator Marcos to two persons, Professor Keith Gull, principal of St Edmund Hall, and Philippa Machin of the Development and Alumni Relations of the same college. Gull did not reply.

Machin referred our e-mail to Robert Wilkins, a senior tutor of St Edmund Hall, who, in turn, referred us to the university calendar. He wrote us: “Data confidentiality concerns mean that we cannot discuss individual students of the Hall, but Class lists for Final Honour School examinations were historically published in the University Calendar. Past copies of the Calendar are on open shelves in the Lower Reading Room in the Bodleian Library and can be freely consulted there.”

Our sources, who commenced at the same college as Marcos Jr in 1975, say that he stayed for only a year. One of them wrote in an e-mail: “It is my understanding that he was sent down (expelled)…Having failed his Prelims (first year exams), Ferdinand Jr never completed his Bachelor degree at Oxford. It is possible that he might have received a face-saving diploma, which is not the degree that he claims.”

Marcos Jr’s claim of a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy, politics and economics, the same source wrote, is an “unequivocal fraud.”


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