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Imee Marcos’ UP graduation issue

Victor Avecilla



It should be obvious by now that Imee Marcos, the eldest daughter of the late President Ferdinand Marcos, is running for the Senate in the coming elections. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself is campaigning for her.

“ This writer attended that ceremony as a guest of two of the graduates that year.

The surveys consider Imee Marcos as a likely winner in the senatorial race, and the Marcos camp is confident that she will win in the May polls because of the longevity of her incumbency as an elected official.

Imee’s staunch supporters believe she will win also because the Marcos name has regained widespread public acceptability, as demonstrated by the 2010 senatorial victory of her brother, ex-Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and his near victory in the vice-presidential derby in 2016.

It cannot also be discounted that their mother, former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, has held elective public office numerous times since the post-Marcos years.

As in any election, candidates are vulnerable to issues. For Imee Marcos, the issue is about her academic credentials.

The news media has created quite a stir when they questioned Imee’s announcement that she graduated from the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law in April 1983. From what the news media have so far gathered, Imee’s name is not in the university’s record of graduates as attested to by a top official of the state university.

It is also reported that although Imee’s name does not appear in the 1983 yearbook of the UP College of Law, she is prominently featured in a publication marking the 25th anniversary of the college’s graduating class of 1983.

In support of the assertion that Imee graduated from the UP College of Law, her camp has shown to the news media photographs which show that she participated in a college ceremony held at the Meralco Theater in the Ortigas Center in Pasig in April 1983.

This writer attended that ceremony as a guest of two of the graduates that year. One was an executive of the Philippine National Bank and the other later became a commissioner of the National Labor Relations Commission. Another invited guest was my fellow law student, Dennis Socrates, who is now the vice governor of Palawan.

President and Mrs. Marcos, together with Bongbong, were present at the ceremony, and sat at the front row. The President and his family arrived in a black limousine.

On the stage throughout the ceremony was Dean Froilan Bacungan of the UP College of Law.

The guest speaker of the occasion was then Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Hermogenes Concepcion Jr., whose speech was about the constitutionality of executive warrants of arrest.

Other important personalities who also sat in the front row were SC Chief Justice Enrique Fernando and Court of Appeals Justice Serafin Cuevas.

Every graduate went on stage for the usual ritual. Honor graduates were given special acknowledgment on the stage. Imee was given honors.

The ceremony started around 8 in the morning, and ended long after lunch. President and Mrs. Marcos posed for photographs for some of the guests.

Withal, the big mystery concerns the status of Imee Marcos as a graduate of the UP College of Law Class of 1983.

If Imee Marcos is not in the official roster of graduates of the UP, why did the UP College of Law hold a college graduation ceremony at the Meralco Theater in April 1983, with Imee and the members of her family, the college dean and the entire graduating class in attendance?

To repeat, honors were given to the outstanding students present at that ceremony. What will be the status of those honors if the ceremony is bogus?

It isn’t going to be easy for the news media to assert that Imee is not a graduate of the UP, because there was a graduation ceremony held at the Meralco Theater. In the same vein, Imee will have a difficult time insisting she is a graduate of the UP because her name is not in its roster of graduates.

Difficult situations like this allow only one practical way out. The voters should decide, not so much as regards the academic credentials of Imee Marcos, but as to whether or not they want her as senator.