By Rigoberto Tiglao | The Manila Times
PARDON my language, but this really got my goat for reasons you'll understand below.
Idiots calling themselves the Oxford Philippines Society (yet not identifying themselves individually) last week issued a statement that claimed that leading presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos had not graduated from Oxford University in the UK. Bongbong "only had a Special Diploma which is not a degree," the statement said.
That's totally false. Oxford's official document dated March 31, 2015, titled "Degree Confirmation," reads:
"This is to certify that the student named below has satisfied all the requirements to the award of the degree indicated below:
Student name: Ferdinand Martin Romualdez Marcos
College: St. Edmund Hall
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Qualification: Special Qualification in Social Studies
Programme of Study: Special Diploma in Social Studies
Mode of Study: Full Time
Programme: Start Date: 01 October 1975
Programme End Date: 01 July 1978
Date of Award: 01 July 1978"
What these ignoramuses don't or pretend not to know is that a "Special Diploma" issued by Oxford in the 1970s was a degree as much as a bachelor's degree and designed by the university for a student to enroll in more subjects in his chosen area of study, which in Bongbong's case was "social studies." Although Oxford no longer has such "special diplomas" in the wake of the United Kingdom's efforts to make all university degrees as transparent as possible as to their quality, such a special diploma in academic standards is between a bachelor's degree and a PhD. It was preferred by foreign students in the 1970s as it allowed an intensive course of study, which shortened their stay in the United Kingdom.
The ignoramuses who issued that statement probably thought the adjective "special" was used in the same way as it is used in "special Olympics" or "special children." Certainly not.
I suspect these Pinkos, who issued that statement, didn't really study at Oxford University since they are ignorant about the degrees that the university's colleges confer on its graduates.
Why, they didn't even get their information from Oxford University itself but, as the footnote in their statement declared, from "a Rappler article in 2015," which was part of that Yellow propaganda venue's black-propaganda campaign against Bongbong during the 2016 elections when he was running for the vice presidency.
This piece was written by Rappler's "editor-at-large" Marites Vitug, who seems to have an obsession in putting into doubt the authenticity of the academic achievements of personalities at the cross-hairs of her political assassination rifle.
It was Vitug who fired the opening salvo in Rappler's disgraceful campaign as the propaganda arm of the Yellow to demonize the late chief justice Renato Corona so he could be removed from his post through impeachment. Vitug wrote a piece in Dec. 22, 2011 entitled "UST breaks rules to favor Corona. " It accused Corona of not fulfilling the academic requirements for him to get the University of Santo Tomas (UST) to issue him a doctorate in civil law, summa cum laude.
The article was also republished in the Philippine Daily Inquirer January 1, which was surprising as the editor of the newspaper then, Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, for some reason had issued a ban against publishing anything from Vitug and from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.
UST issued a point-by-point denial of the article. Its entire Graduate School Council convened December 27 to study minutely if Corona deserved the PhD or not. UST issued a strong statement debunking and condemning Vitug's article and confirming the granting to Corona of the PhD, summa cum laude. The Inquirer issued what was effectively an apology for Vitug's false reporting. As it always does when its articles are disproven, Rappler ignored UST's denials and moved on as if it did nothing wrong.
Vitug probably thought her hatchet job against Corona was crucial in getting the Senate to vote to remove Corona as chief justice; it wasn't, it was the hundreds of millions of pesos in "pork barrel" funds raised traditionally and through what was called the Disbursement Acceleration Program. Thus, she used the same tactic for the 2016 elections to paint Bongbong as having cheated to get his academic degree, as she claimed the former chief justice did.
In her article Feb. 24, 2015 entitled "Exclusive: Did Bongbong Marcos lie about Oxford, Wharton?" Vitug claimed that he did not complete any degree from Oxford. She alleged that "her sources" — unidentified of course — said that "he stayed for only a year." "One of them wrote in an email: 'It is my understanding that he was sent down (expelled).'" Those statements, of course, are brazen lies, as the above official Oxford document entitled "Degree Confirmation" incontrovertibly shows.
What is so disgraceful for Vitug is that even as Oxford finally replied to her that Marcos "was awarded a special diploma in Social Studies in 1978," she distorted this clarification by writing another article, which she claimed confirmed her allegations, which was entitled "Oxford University confirms Bongbong Marcos got only "special diploma." She downgraded a special diploma, claiming it was not a degree.
She did this not by any official explanation from Oxford but by quoting another unidentified source, who probably existed only in her mind. She quoted this "source" as saying: "However, a contemporary of Marcos Jr. explained: 'My understanding is that the special diploma was something given to students on the rare occasion that they failed their first-year preliminary examinations and hence disqualified themselves from going on to receive a bachelor's degree.'" Note how her "sources" use the same words "my understanding" — her slip that she is inventing her "sources."
What follows is an explanation from a real person, a Filipino-born UK citizen, Ben Cinco, who posted the following in social media, and who went himself to Oxford University to confirm its academic courses after that Oxford Society statement was issued.
"BBM studied at Oxford during the 1970s. During that time, a special diploma is equivalent to a bachelor degree as far as academic requirement is concerned. Well, in fact, special diploma is taught at a graduate level nowadays. During those days, a bachelor degree is equivalent to a special diploma award at least as far as Oxford University is concerned. But now, they are two different degrees but with the same qualification. Sa totoo lang po pinababa pa ni BBM ang qualification niya."
What made me livid at that Oxford Society statement is that the sole source of its claim that Oxford "officially confirmed that Bongbong did not finish his degree" — footnoted in their statement — is this Vitug article, which distorted the university's affirmation that he finished his degree, a "special diploma in Social Studies" on "01 July 1978," after two and half years of full-time study. I didn't even bother to write a column at the time as the Oxford statement was so incontrovertible, and merely sighed in exasperation — and amazement — at how Vitug could distort a denial of her article to appear as a confirmation. That requires skill — and a lot of gall.
Can you believe that? Oxford's debunking of Vitug's lies made in 2015 is used six years later? If they are really Oxford alumni, why didn't they just get in touch with officials at the university to get an official statement on the degree of a presidential candidate? This is another example of how lies can persist for so long when used by skillful propagandists.
This Oxford Society's bungling black prop should remind us that the Yellows (Pinks, Pinkos or Finks, whatever) will most probably regurgitate their black-propaganda tricks they used against Marcos in the 2016 elections. Watch out for them.
Who were they?
The Oxford idiots claimed that their statement was "not a political statement" but made only "in aid of public discourse in a time where [sic] disinformation and fake news are prevalent." This is such nauseating bullshit. Not only are they so disgracefully hypocritical as they are spreading disinformation that Marcos didn't get a degree from Oxford, which had been proven to be a lie six years ago. They had hidden their identities and political affiliations as supporters of Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo.
A social media post claimed two of these liars are the following: Armi Beatriz Bayot, "committee president," who worked at the Commission on Human Rights; a Kristofer de las Peñas, "committee president" of the society, who has been posting in his Facebook page such things as "I hope Leni's camp will do a good job at convincing people to support her." Shame on them.
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