FACT CHECK: No, Bongbong Marcos did not write a free education bill

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jan 30 2019 02:10 AM

A post shared hundreds of times by multiple Facebook accounts claims that Philippine politician Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is the "original" author of a senate bill that mandates free education for students at state colleges and universities. The claim is false, Marcos is not the author of the bill.

Multiple Facebook posts, for example here and here, claim that Marcos was the original author of Senate Bill 1304 or the “Free Higher Education Act for All”.

The bill, which was signed into law in August 2017, aims to provide students from state colleges and universities with free education.

Here is a screenshot of one of the misleading posts:

The status, when translated to English, says:

"For everyone's information:

"Bam Aquino is not the author of the 'Free Higher Education For All Act'. The original author of the BILL is Bongbong Marcos. It's just that scrap food is really a credit grabber."

“Bam Aquino” refers to Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, nephew of the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and a member of Liberal party, the main opposition in the Philippines.

He is sometimes called 'scrap food' because he filed a bill mandating that food-related businesses must give their spare food to food banks.

According to the copy of Senate Bill 1304 posted on the Senate’s online legislative archives, Marcos is not one of the authors of the free education bill.

Here is a screenshot of the bill’s authors:

The authors listed when it was filed on January 23, 2017, were Senators Recto, Villanueva, Ejercito, Aquino IV, Gatchalian, Pangilinan, Angara and Legarda.

The timeline of the bill’s passage into law posted on the official government website shows that other senators were made co-authors.

All in all, the bill had 12 authors: senators Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Sherwin Gatchalian, Francis Pangilinan, Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Loren Legarda, Leila de Lima, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon.

 

The timeline also specified the separate bills which had been filed by each senator as part of the push for free education in state colleges and universities, none of which were authored by Marcos.

These are Senate bill no. 61, Senate bill no. 158, Senate bill no. 173, Senate bill no. 177, Senate bill no. 198, Senate bill 962 and Senate bill 1220.

Senate bill 1304 was filed on January 23, 2017 and was signed into law on August 15, 2017.

Marcos, the son and namesake of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, served as senator from July 2010 to June 2016. He then narrowly lost the 2016 vice-presidential election.

Marcos’s official website also has a list of the bills he authored and filed when he was still senator. None of the legislation pushed for free education in state colleges and universities.

Here is a separate list of all the bills he filed or authored connected to the education sector. None of these bills called for free tuition for students in state colleges and universities.