Fake diploma: The scandal that will put the PH educational system in jeopardy

Now it can be told without fear of contradiction — the Bachelor’s degree awarded by the University of Makati to Senator Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao in December 2019 is bogus. Fake. A mere piece of paper.

A real diploma serves as a seal of competence and learning that its bearer may show the world that he or she has completed the required program of study for any field. With it, its bearer wouldn’t need to demonstrate his or her proficiency in every subject in the four-year course when applying for a job. The diploma is a guarantee from the college or university.

But this is not what Pacquiao received in the graduation rites at the UMak just over a year and a half ago. That’s because under the law, a college degree can only be conferred to a graduate with prior approval from the Commission on Higher Education. This approval is contained in the Special Order that is issued by CHED at least one month before a college student graduates. Without it, no college or university can confer a degree to anybody, not even if he is a Senator of the Republic of the Philippines.

After two months of patient investigation, I have received an official statement from CHED NCR Regional Director Dr. Virginia Akiate that UMak conferred that “degree” of Bachelor of Science in Political Sciene without the knowledge and authority of the agency. And despite proddings from Dr. Akiate, the UMak administration has failed to answer the questions now swirling over this spurious degree. It’s a clear manifestation that UMak cannot justify its action, which can lead to administrative sanctions from CHED.

It is unfortunate that UMak lent its name to the fraud perpetuated by Pacquiao to “cure” a vacuum in his curriculum vitae that he knows will put his qualification to run as President of the Republic under a big question mark. Pacquiao had become a millionaire from his boxing more than two decades ago. Had he really wanted to earn a degree to make up for what he failed to do in his teen-aged years, he could have invested the time and effort as he started to climb the ladder of success in boxing. Studying part-time is a common path taken by young men and women who didn’t finish college due to financial constraints. While working to earn a living, they study at night. And we’ve seen success stories: janitors or security guards who studied law and passed the bar, among others.

But Pacquiao never valued education. His passion was boxing, and he figured he didn’t need a degree to become a champion. Even if he didn’t go to school, he could have gone ahead to educate himself through reading, or even watching YouTube videos on almost any subject under the sun. Indeed, one doesn’t need to go to college to get an education. With his money, he could have built a library for himself and his children where he could sit during his breaks from training to burrow his head into the pages of books.

Apparently, Pacquiao started to entertain the idea that he could run for the President, and even win because of his popularity. It was then that he realized the lack of education was a serious handicap. He had to do something about it, fast.

Former Vice President Jojo Binay and his family provided him with a solution. Enrol at UMak. Without having to study, Pacquiao was going to get a degree for a four-year course. His brain didn’t have for a single minute have to labor. He had his lawyers answer exams and submit the documentary requirements such as reports and thesis writing. Lo and behold, in a matter of months, Pacquiao was a graduate.

However, that lie wasn’t going to stay hidden for long.

As an investigative journalist, I knew the answer lay in the hands of CHED. So I wrote CHED several times. I also tried asking UMak to provide information and documents. After two months, I hit the jackpot. Regional Director Akiate informed me that CHED did not give its imprimatur to that degree. No special order as required by the law. In short, fake.

This is a big scandal that could adversely affect the country’s tertiary education system. For years, we have endeavored to maintain strict standards in our tertiary education not only to provide graduates with solid grounding in their chosen fields, but also ensure that credentials from our colleges and universities are accepted without question by employers, both here and abroad. In the past, the proliferation of “diploma mills” put into serious doubt the quality of our graduates, putting the investment of time and money made by parents to waste.

All of a sudden, this dark past is being resuscitated by this scandal of Pacquiao being conferred a Bachelor’s degree without the sanction of CHED. This is an act of dishonesty committed by UMak and Pacquiao. It is a blatant attempt to mislead the Filipino people into believing is “educated”, and therefor fit to run for President.

About Manuel "Boy" Mejorada
Manuel "Boy" Mejorada is a journalist and social media activist. A former Iloilo provincial administrator, he is now waging a crusade against corruption and narco-politics.

One Response to Fake diploma: The scandal that will put the PH educational system in jeopardy

  1. Aurora alerts lim says:

    This is correct Boy M.. In fact, when we graduated after studying in UNESCO-IHE in Delft, the NL for 11 months, we submitted our documents with copy of our postgraduate Diploma in Environmrntal Science and Technology (EST) to CHED which recognized it and granted us the equivalent as MS in EST!


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