Wharton confirms Roxas is its alumnus

ABS-CBN News

MANILA – The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has confirmed that former Interior Secretary and administration bet Mar Roxas indeed finished his studies at the prestigious business school.

In an e-mail to ABS-CBN News, Wharton School media relations director Peter Winicov, citing the school registrar, said Roxas finished his undergraduate degree of Bachelor of Science in Economics, major in Finance from the school in 1979.

The National Student Clearinghouse also provided a degree certification indicating that Roxas went to Wharton to take up his undergraduate studies from September 1, 1976 to May 1, 1979.

Roxas' Wharton education was earlier questioned by his friend-turned-political rival Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte and his supporters online said Roxas is only a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, ''not Wharton." They pointed that for one to be considered a Wharton alumnus, one has to earn an MBA degree from the said school.

''Sinasabi ko sayo hindi ka graduate na may bachelors degree sa University of Wharton (sic). You were a graduate sa economics sa Pennsylvania, which is also parang a partner of Wharton School of Economics. Ang nakuha mo doon sa Pennsylvania was a certificate sa undergrad dito sa Wharton,'' Duterte earlier said.

''Hindi ka sa Wharton, dito ka sa Pennsylvania. Ang nakuha mo diyan is certificate of studies undergrad mo para sa Wharton na sana. Hindi ka pa umakyat doon, hanggang dito ka lang.

''Kaya ang ipakita mo certificate, hindi diploma. Huwag mo kaming bolahin. Mas mabuti pa sabihin mo na: 'Ganito lang ako pero ang utak ko pang-Wharton talaga'. That would have been more in keeping with honesty. Do not pretend to be what you are not.''

However, as can be gleaned on Covine's e-mail confirmation and the school's website, Wharton also grants ''undergraduate degrees,'' of which Roxas is a holder.

In the University of Pennsylvania's website, Roxas is also described as having earned the degree of ''B.S. in Econ., 1979 (Bachelor of Science in Economics, Wharton School).''

WORD WAR

The verbal tussle between the two began when Roxas said in a forum last week that the narrative of Davao City being a peaceful place is just a ''myth.'' The former Interior secretary cited Davao City's crime record.

Two days later, the Philippine Star then quoted Duterte as saying that he wants to slap Roxas because of how he and the government responded to the Yolanda disaster.

Responding to Roxas' ''myth'' statement, Duterte said the actual myth is Roxas' Wharton education.

Roxas did not back down, challenging Duterte to a slapping match. The administration bet told Duterte to slap him if he fails to prove his academic credentials.

"Kung hindi totoo ang Wharton degree ko, sampalin mo ko, hindi ako iilag. Pero kung totoo ang Wharton degree ko, sasampalin kita," Roxas said.

This did not end, as Roxas challenged Duterte instead to a fistfight.

Duterte reportedly fired back by saying he and Roxas should ''shoot it out'' instead, but Duterte later denied he made such a challenge.

READ: Duterte denies challenging Roxas to gun duel

Both camps have since decided not to take their word war to the next level, with Roxas saying he and Duterte must raise the level of discussion by talking about platforms.