Philippine presidential election candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr was awarded a “special diploma" in 1978, the University of Oxford has confirmed, contrary to his claim to have received a full degree from the university.
Oxford is consistently ranked in the world’s top 10 universities according to annual league tables released by Times Higher Education and Forbes.
Mr Marcos Jr, who studied at the university, claimed to have been awarded a degree in philosophy, politics and economics, the renowned “PPE” degree completed by notable world leaders including Bill Clinton, former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser and former British prime minister David Cameron.
On Wednesday, Rappler, a Philippine news website, asked the private secretary to the registrar at Oxford, Cathay King, whether Mr Marcos Jr had received a full degree. Mr Marcos Jr’s award was “not a full graduate diploma”, the university said.
The row over Mr Marcos Jr’s academic credentials has been several years in the making, with the presidential election front-runner drawing scrutiny ever since his campaign claimed he received the full degree in 2015.
Last week, Joshua Cobler, chairman of the Oxford Philippines Society, a group of 200 alumni, clarified their position on Mr Marcos Jr, saying that he had “matriculated” – been enrolled – but not graduated.
“Our goal within Oxford Philippines Society is not to take sides among the presidential candidates; our organisation does not endorse candidates and we do not engage in partisan political activity,” Mr Cobler said.
“Our goal here is to correct misinformation around the former senator’s academic credentials, since we as Pinoy Oxford students are best placed to correct that misinformation and explain it to our fellow countrymen,” he said.
Mr Marcos Jr, 64, is the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was overthrown in 1986, following a series of public scandals involving the misuse of public funds.