MANILA (UPDATED) — The University of Oxford, one of the world's most prestigious academic institutions, on Wednesday confirmed that presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. failed to complete his degree and did not graduate, contrary to his earlier claims.
According to the university's Information Compliance Team, Marcos "did not complete his degree, but was awarded a Special Diploma in Social Studies in 1978."
"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," the university said in an email in response to ABS-CBN News' inquiry.
It added that a special diploma is "not a full graduate Diploma."
Marcos, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Sr., earlier claimed in his Senate profile and resume of having obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oxford.
Meanwhile, the Religious of the Good Shepherd in the Philippines also posted a photo of a letter one of their sisters received in 1983 about Marcos' claim.
RGS said that one of their sisters decided to write a letter to the University of Oxford in 1983 after Marcos assumed the role of governor of Ilocos Norte.
The news clipping, which announced Marcos as the new Ilocos Norte governor, also claimed that he obtained both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Oxford University.
"We are releasing this photo of a letter from University of Oxford dated April 20, 1983, addressed to one of our sisters as a reply to her query regarding the veracity of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s credentials. That year, Marcos Jr. assumed role as governor of Ilocos Norte after the incumbent governor resigned. While on retreat that time, she saw a news clipping that deeply disturbed her and prompted her to send a letter to Oxford," RGS said in the post.
"As a religious congregation with ministries in education and residential care for children and women, we owe it to our students and youth to know the facts. We urge the public to engage in meaningful conversations while maintaining an objective allegiance to the truth," it added.
And just like the university's latest statement, Oxford in 1983 also said that Marcos indeed enrolled in the university in 1975, but "he did not complete his preliminary examinations and is not therefore a graduate of this University."
RGS also clarified that the issue is not about Marcos' educational attainment but that he continues to lie about it.
"As had already been pointed out by many others, the issue is not the educational attainment but the value of honesty that we expect no less with anyone aspiring for the highest position of power in our country," it said.
As early as 2015, doubts have been raised over Marcos' educational background.
Last week, the Oxford Philippines Society, composed of around 200 Filipino students and alumni of Oxford University, insisted Marcos is not a degree holder.
In response, Marcos' legal counsel Vic Rodriguez claimed that he has a degree from the University of Oxford.
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.
Since returning to the Philippines in 1991 from a 5-year exile in Hawaii after Marcos Sr.'s overthrow in a "People Power" uprising, the Marcoses have been trying to rebuild their image, which was tainted by human rights violations and rampant corruption during the Marcos dictatorship.