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Marcos Sr. lied about Bongbong's Oxford stint as early as 1978 —Vera Files report

The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos lied about his son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s stint at the University of Oxford when he spoke before the graduating class of the Philippine College of Commerce in 1978.

According to Vera Files' report based on documents left behind at Malacanang when the Marcoses fled the country in 1986, the dictator knew about Bongbong's failure to pursue his degree as early as 1976.

He was reading for a degree in philosophy, politics and economics when he failed the examinations that would have allowed him to proceed with the program. 

In his address before the PCC on April 1, 1978, now known as the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Marcos said of his son and namesake, "He is graduating this June."

“He is so busy he could not stay here, he came here and stayed only two days and said: ‘I better go back to Oxford, Father, at ngayon ay naghahanda kami sa final examinations ng June,'" Marcos said.

Bongbong was already pursuing a "special diploma" in social studies in 1978.

Oxford University has confirmed that Marcos Jr. did not receive a full graduate diploma more than 40 years ago.

“We can confirm that a Ferdinand Marcos matriculated at the University of Oxford in 1975 to read for a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. According to our records, he did not complete his degree, but was awarded a Special Diploma in Social Studies in 1978,” Oxford said in an email to GMA News Online.

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 and the Special Diploma, and the Special Diploma was not a full graduate Diploma,” it said.

GMA News Online already reached out to Bongbong's camp regarding the matter but it has yet to respond as of posting time.

Vera Files said Bongbong was accepted at Oxford in October 1975 for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, a three-year course.

He passed Oxford and Cambridge's schools examination for summer of 1974 with the following grades in three subjects at advanced level: English literature, C; mathematics, C; physics, C; and the general paper, E. The highest grade in this examination was A.

In a confidential cable on July 27, 1976, Ambassador Pablo A. Araque, then the chargé d’affaires in London, informed Marcos Sr. that Bongbong passed only one of three subjects he took in the preliminary examination.

He was able to pass philosophy but failed in economics and politics.

Bongbong had to retake the two exams and tutors were hired to help him.

In another confidential cable to Marcos on October 9, 1976, Araque reported that Dr. John Norman Davidson Kelly, principal of Oxford’s St. Edmund Hall, had informed him that Bongbong passed in economics but failed in politics.

Araque said Kelly expressed deep disappointment and regreted that the firm rule of the college that an undergraduate who failed to pass his preliminary examinations at the end of the first year "must go out of residence for good."

In an October 11, 1976 urgent and confidential cable addressed to Marcos and the first lady Imelda, Araque reported on the appeal he and Captain Artemio Tadiar, Armed Forces attaché to London, made in person to Kelly on behalf of Bongbong.

Araque crafted these mitigating circumstances Bongbong's asthma complicated by flu weeks before his first examination, the adverse psychological effects on him after his visit with Marcos to the devastated areas in Mindanao after the earthquake, and tidal wave which killed 8000 people and rendered many thousands more homeless.

Vera Files reported that Kelly had said he would present the appeal to the college committee, but cautioned Araque “against over-optimism as favorable decisions in cases similar” to those of Bongbong were ‘very rare’.”

Araque told Marcos that according to Kelly, "the rule governing an undergraduate who fails to pass his preliminary examination as a whole after two attempts is not only a college rule but Oxford University rule."

"In the event that Bong’s case is reconsidered favorably, and Dr. Kelly emphasized that this can only be known after the committee meets, Bong will have to wait until next June [1977] to re-sit his examination in politics. In the meantime, Dr. Kelly is afraid there is nothing for Bong to do in Oxford," Araque was quoted as telling Marcos.

According to Vera Files, the committee should have decided the case by the end of October 1976.

"Whatever the final verdict of the committee, it was clear by then that Bongbong had failed to finish his bachelor’s degree in PPE," it added. -NB, GMA News