By Job Manahan | ABS-CBN News
Oxford has earlier said he did not complete his degree
MANILA - The camp of presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. on Saturday maintained that he has a degree from the University of Oxford.
This came hours after a group of Filipino students and alumni from the prestigious English institution said he does not have one.
In a statement, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, Marcos' chief-of-staff, challenged people to disprove Oxford's "degree confirmation" to him.
"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," said Rodriguez.
He also said that Marcos, namesake son of fallen dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has been honest about his special diploma from the UK university.
"[He] has always been forthright on his conferment of a special diploma in social studies by the distinguished university and has never misrepresented his Oxford education," according to the chief of staff.
On Friday, the Oxford Philippines Society said that Marcos “matriculated” at the University of Oxford in 1975 to read for a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
But matriculation, they said, is only a formal ceremony at the beginning of the course to mark any student’s admission to the University.
They also said that Marcos did not finish his degree, as confirmed by Oxford University in 2015.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the university to validate the group's claims.
In an interview with DZMM in 2016, Marcos said that after questions were raised on his academic background in 2015, he flew to England and personally went to Oxford, where he received a certificate confirming his degree.
It was brought up during the interview, however, that what the university actually wrote was that Marcos was awarded a special diploma in Social Studies.
It read: "We can confirm that a Ferdinand Marcos matriculated at the University of Oxford in 1975 to read for a BA in Philosophy, Philosophy and Economics. According to our records, he did not complete his degree, but was awarded a special diploma in Social Studies in 1978."
Marcos then clarified that he changed courses.
"Ah, oo. Nagpalit ako ng kurso. Kasi ang sabi ko Politics, Philosophy and Economics 'yan eh, sabi ko eh bagsak naman ito lagi, politics eh. So, sabi ko, gagawin ko na lang Political Science. Sabi nila, kung ganun ang gawin mo, lumipat ka na lang sa kabilang course," he said then.
(Ah yes, I changed courses. I said that's Politics, Philosophy, and Economics but I always end up in politics. So I said I would move to Political Science. People recommended that I switch courses)
Marcos, 64, is a former governor, congressman, and senator and is gunning for the country's highest position next year.
He is not the only Marcos sibling whose academic record has been questioned.
In 2019, the University of the Philippines issued a statement to say categorically that then Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos, at the time running for a Senate seat she eventually won, did not finish a degree from the state university.
This followed Marcos' release of photos of her supposed 1983 graduation from UP.
Since returning to the Philippines in 1991 from a 5-year exile in Hawaii after their father's overthrow in a "People Power" uprising, the Marcoses have been trying to rebuild their image, which was tainted by human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.