Oxford U’s 1983 reply to nun’s query | Inquirer Opinion
Human Face

Oxford U’s 1983 reply to nun’s query

/ 05:06 AM October 28, 2021

The following should not be considered trivia because it has to do with telling the truth, a value and practice sorely lacking in some of our present national leaders and wannabe leaders — they who think tweaking the truth does no harm to themselves but in fact blurs the minds of those they wish to benumb and bedumb.

Last Monday I received from a Religious of the Good Shepherd (RGS) nun a scanned or digital copy — all in one frame — of a letter from the University of Oxford along with its machine-stamped envelope and beside it a clipping of a 1983 news report. (It is now posted on the RGS Facebook page.) All excavated from the baul where these lay hidden for 38 years but soon to find their place in the RGS congregation’s impressive solar-powered archives. (Impressive, I say, because I have seen it for myself.)


The letter dated April 20, 1983 was typewritten on stationery with the University of Oxford letterhead. The sender: University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford, Ox1 2JD, etc. The Reference number: I0/2. It was addressed to Sister GS (she wishes to remain unnamed) with her convent address at that time.

“Dear Sister __ Thank you for your letter of 31 March.


“Ferdinand Martin Romualdez Marcos matriculated in 1975 at St. Edmund Hall, University of Oxford, to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He did not however complete his Preliminary examinations, and is not therefore a graduate of this University. It follows that he does not hold any degree. (Underscoring provided by the letter sender.)

“He was however awarded a Special Diploma in Social Studies in 1978.”

It was signed by W.L. Bell

The news clipping had the headline “FM Jr. is new governor” and the lead paragraph saying President Marcos swore him in as governor of Ilocos Norte. He, the 25-year-old vice governor, replaced his aunt Elizabeth Marcos Keon who resigned from her post for health reasons. He was not a tot when the Marcoses were ousted from power by a people power uprising in 1986. As former Manila mayor Lito Atienza recently said straight to his face: “You are not a millennial,” meaning that Marcos Jr. was not ignorant of the human rights violations and plunder his family had committed when they were in power for 14 years.

One paragraph in the news report said Marcos Jr. had BA and MA degrees from the University of Oxford. The report added that Marcos Jr. later “attended the Wharton School of Finance in Pennsylvania” while being a “consultant to a bank and a firm which conducted studies on distressed industries.” This Wharton thing is another story.

The RGS nun’s letter found its way to the University of Oxford via an Irish nun (who had become a Filipino citizen) who was on her way to Ireland, her home country, for a vacation. When asked by a fellow nun why she thought of writing the letter, Sister GS replied that she was on retreat at that time when she read the news report. (Yes, it is okay to read the news even while on a spiritual retreat. They make good fodder for meditation, if you ask me.) Sister GS felt disturbed and wanted to check the veracity of the report.

This Oxford issue has been on social media these past weeks after Marcos Jr. announced his intention to run for president and filed his certificate of candidacy. The organization of Oxford alumni in the Philippines issued a statement debunking claims that Marcos Jr. graduated from the prestigious academic institution and cited a letter from the same.


There are countless school dropouts in this world who made good and the reasons for dropping out are many, from being too brilliant for their own good, the intellectual laziness of spoiled brats, to falling on hard times.

Netizen Wylie Chavez posted on social media: “If a man cannot be honest about his education, how can we trust him with the nation. There is no dishonor in being a dropout. But lying about it is.” #choosehonesty.

Speaking of honesty, read the bombshell series on the fake war medals of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. by the late Bonifacio Gillego, retired navy officer, political detainee, and congressman.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Human Face, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Oxford University, Religious of the Good Shepherd
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