MANILA - Imee Marcos did not graduate from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, much less finish a degree with honors, a high-ranking UP official disclosed on Friday.
The country's premier state university disclosed this after the Ilocos Norte governor, now a senatorial candidate backed by President Rodrigo Duterte, posted photos of her supposed graduation from the UP College of Law in 1983.
In a letter sent to ABS-CBN News, UP executive vice president Teodoro Herbosa said Marcos only took courses but did not finish with a degree from the university.
"There is no record of her graduation from UPD (University of the Philippines Diliman) nor any honors or academic distinction received with the University Registrar's office," read Herbosa's letter.
He said records at the UPD Registrar "indicate that Ms Marcos took non-degree courses (courses without credit) in the College of Arts and Sciences University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) during academic year 1976-1977."
"Thereafter she took courses under the Bachelor of Laws program at the UP College of Law from 1st semester 1979 to 2nd Semester 1983," the letter read.
Her years in UP were during her late father President Ferdinand Marcos' dictatorship. Mr. Marcos was a UP College of Law alumnus.
In a Facebook post on Feb. 20, Marcos shared photos of her supposed graduation at the UP College of Law held at the Meralco Theater. It said her parents, the late strongman and then First Lady Imelda Marcos, "pinned her cum laude medal."
Marcos' academic record at UP drew questions following her unproven claim of earning a degree from the prestigious Princeton University with distinction.
In a December 2018 interview on DZMM radio, Marcos dodged the question, saying the issue was being thrown at her because it was the "election season" and that her "performance" record should speak for itself.
Doubts have also surrounded the academic record of her brother, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
UP released details about Marcos' stay at the university in response to an ABS-CBN News query, which it said it treated as a Freedom of Information request.
It cited that Marcos is "an incumbent public official, is running for public office and is a public figure."
"Citizens have a right to know about her qualifications and your query may be answered by the University of the Philippines through the examination of its official records," Herbosa said in the letter.
It cited a 1988 Supreme Court ruling that balanced the right to privacy and public interest.
"The right to privacy or 'the right to be let alone', like the right of free expression, is not an absolute right. A limited intrusion into a person's privacy has long been regarded as permissible where that person is a public figure and the information sought to be elicited from him or to be published about him constitute of a public character," read the ruling, as quoted in the letter.
It also cited the Philippine Data Privacy Act, which states that "personal information processed for journalistic... or research purposes is not covered by the law."
UP said it also furnished Marcos a copy of the letter via email, in compliance with the law.