“Pinklawan” presidential bet, Leni Robredo, recently appealed to her adherents to carry their fight in a smart way by effectively challenging disinformation. The problem is, instead of following the marching orders of their candidate, these people seem to be the ones going on overdrive in disseminating disinformation. It makes you wonder if her followers are truly the “decent” and “intelligent” segment of society that they profess themselves to be. Let us look at some of the recent disinformation drive being peddled by the Philippine society’s crème de la crème.
One Leni supporter posted a photo of a supposed public message from Oxford University denying Bongbong Marcos (BBM) of earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Studies. Perhaps the idea of this post by this Leni supporter is to put BBM in a bad light by suggesting that BBM never completed a Bachelor degree program at Oxford with a suggestion that BBM is an Oxford University dropout. The problem is, this issue has long been addressed and resolved already. BBM clarified this in 2015 when he was still a senator of the Republic. To bring this up again smacks of malice from this Leni supporter. He seems to conveniently ignore the already-known fact (widely since 2015) that BBM was conferred a “Special Diploma” for Social Studies by Oxford University.
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Now, there is no question that a Special Diploma is not the same as a Bachelors degree and this was made clear by Oxford through a document from the university describing the nature of the diploma granted to BBM. But what is funny is the perpetuation of innuendo that BBM is an Oxford dropout even suggesting that he may have just attended the university for a year and may have been expelled after failing the first year exams. A Rappler article in 2015 shows that:
Our sources, who commenced at the same college as Marcos Jr in 1975, say that he stayed for only a year. One of them wrote in an e-mail: “It is my understanding that he was sent down (expelled)…Having failed his Prelims (first year exams), Ferdinand Jr never completed his Bachelor degree at Oxford. It is possible that he might have received a face-saving diploma, which is not the degree that he claims.”
It is amazing how Rappler, the paragon of truth and integrity, seems to willfully inject an unsubstantiated projection from an anonymous source, just to advance an anti-BBM agenda. What is unfortunate is, anti-Marcos social media justice warriors take such innuendo hook line and sinkers without much careful thought and consideration.
A quick look at the degree confirmation document issued by Oxford University clearly belies the smear being thrown at BBM. The former senator did attend Oxford University from October 1975 and satisfactorily finished the Special Diploma program on July 1, 1978. So it is clear that BBM did attend Oxford University for almost 3 years, not merely 2 semesters (or within a span of 1 year) as some Leni supporters seem to be spreading. It is quite a marvel how the mind of a Leni supporter works!
Going back to BBM’s Special Diploma, the idea that it is merely a “face-saving diploma” is quite amusing given the fact that it was good enough to be used for admission to the MBA program at the prestigious Wharton School of Business. Rappler even confirmed this in their article, even sharing the statement from their source:
Marcos Jr entered the MBA program in 1979 and attended until the fall of 1980. However, he withdrew sometime during this period or early spring in 1981 and never graduated. They do not know why. However, Wharton confirmed that Marcos Jr went there but never graduated.”
So if BBM’s Special Diploma is merely a “face-saving diploma” for Oxford University dropouts, an idea that Rappler seems to be perpetuating, why was it good enough for a prestigious business school’s MBA program? Afterall, the Wharton School of Business website does say that the minimum requirements for admission to the MBA program are as follows:
Ah yes… Leni supporters seem to have ignored the part that says “.. or equivalent in another country”. Maybe it was assessed that BBM’s special diploma was equivalent to a Bachelor degree obtained in the United States? Whatever the case may be, what is amazing about these “decent” and “intelligent” Leni supporters is how they seem to be so oblivious about the difference between the word “same” vs “equivalent”. A quick linguistical check would show us that:
As adjectives the difference between equivalent and same is that equivalent is similar or identical in value, meaning or effect…”
But making an effort to see the difference may be a little too much to ask of the “inteligencia” so maybe it would be easier for them to understand it this way:
Thing is, BBM did acknowledge that he did not finish the MBA program at Wharton as he went back to the Philippines to serve as Vice Governor of Ilocos Norte. Why anti-Marcos minions are still belaboring the point that he did not graduate at Wharton is beyond me.
Of course Rappler seems to be outdoing itself in terms of disinformation at a drop of a hat! In the past week alone, the disinformation drive against BBM has been on overdrive. There is the infamous online survey that Rappler issued that backfired on them big time. They were probably hoping to have their regular readers (who are mostly of the Yellow persuasion) vote for Leni thus giving them an ammo to use to push for the idea that Leni’s popularity is on the rise and perhaps even better than all the current crop of presidential candidates! Unfortunately, even in their own survey and even with Rappler’s alleged manipulation of votes, the BBM votes annihilated the Leni votes forcing Rappler to take down the survey. Netizens lambasted Rappler for its apparent “attempt to deceive the public into believing that independent presidential aspirant Leni Robredo is now getting the support of netizens”.
Another seemingly disinformation effort from Rappler that was recently exposed was their claim that a motorcade of around 4,000 – 5,000 vehicles rolled throughout Legazpi City in Bicol in support of Leni’s candidacy. This claim has been put into question because no drone shots showing the magnitude of the caravan has been made available and that the whole claim seems mathematically too incredible. RJ Nieto (aka ThinkingPinoy) offers an illuminating take on his Facebook page.
Of course the biggest disinformation that Rappler has peddled lately has been their claim that the Bangui Windfarm project was not BBM’s. My previous article also touched on this malicious attempt by Rappler to discredit BBM. Moreover, Rappler was hit right, front, and center by different people even by people who were actually involved in the development of the project! DWIZ 882 Karambola host Jonathan de la Cruz noted:
Renewables and energy development have always been one of BBM’s advocacies.The initiative to precisely harness the province’s renewable resources was originally stated and affirmed in the Provincial Development Plan which was completed with assistance from various national and international agencies during BBM’s first term as governor from mid 1982-February 1986. Had the family not gone into exile in 1986, this project like the now aging Tomato Processing Plant (Northern Foods Corporation), the country’s only tomato processing plant, which was set up during his first term would have been completed much earlier. I should know. I am a native of Bangui and I was BBM’s Special Assistant and provincial administrator during his first term and served as adviser during his second term when the windmill project was undertaken.”
It is quite puzzling why in order to promote Leni, Rappler would need to engage in a nasty and malicious disinformation drive to discredit Leni’s rival – BBM. Even with the deck so stacked against BBM in the mainstream media, Rappler seems to believe that Leni is not capable of sealing the deal on her own merits and that she needs the help of the jaundiced mainstream media to artificially prop her up by smearing BBM. If Leni is indeed the most qualified candidate for president as the “inteligencia” assert, then why does it seem like she is getting dumped by the majority of the Filipino people like an aging first wife for a younger supermodel? Maybe it is because Leni is just not well liked for coming out as a fake, insincere, weak and inept leader (if one can really call her one). Perhaps it is because of her inadequately thin resume for the role of chief executive? Afterall, her chief executive experience (be it local, regional, or even business) seems thinner than Lovi Poe’s septum. Or maybe that she is a part of an institution that the Filipino people distrust and are just too sick and tired of? Whatever the case may be, Leni supporters seem to be getting desperate in trying to make their candidate look competent using Poisoning the Well tactics.
Calling a spade, a spade…