Social media posts mislead boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao’s college degree

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Social media posts in the Philippines claim boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao graduated from college in just three months, suggesting his degree was fraudulently conferred. The messages are misleading: An official at Makati University, where Pacquiao graduated in political science, said he completed the degree in 16 months and that his experience in government counted as an academic credit. The misleading messages also distort images related to Pacquiao’s college attendance.

“If only it was like this for everyone,” reads a Tagalog tweet job June 24, 2021.

The tweet features an illustration that claims Pacquiao enrolled in Makati University in September 2019, then graduated three months later in December 2019.

Screenshot of a misleading message taken on July 21, 2021

Similar posts have been shared on Facebook here, here and here.

The posts sparked accusations from social media users that Pacquiao’s degree was fraudulently conferred.

“The Bachelor of Science degree in most courses takes 4 to 5 years of schooling… Seems like Pacquiao graduated magically or at a diploma factory,” one person commented.

The post appeared as a result of a public skirmish between Pacquiao and President Rodrigo Duterte over the latter’s handling of the South China Sea dispute with Beijing.

Until recently, Pacquiao was a leading supporter of Duterte and his controversial war on drugs, which prosecutors at the International Criminal Court want to investigate for the alleged unlawful murder of tens of thousands of people.

However, the articles claiming that Pacquiao graduated in three months are misleading.

University diploma

A spokesperson for Makati University said Pacquiao graduated with a 16-month degree in political studies.

“By the registration certificate from our registrar, [he enrolled in] July 2018, “Elyxzur Ramos, vice president of academic affairs at Makati University, told AFP.

“He followed the modular program for 16 months, until November 2019. He graduated from this university in December [2019], which was our mid-year graduation. “

Senator enrolled in university College of Continuing, Advanced and Professional Studies, where the diplomas count some professional experience as academic creditRamos said.

The degree in political science that Pacquiao obtained was designed to qualified Philippine government officials and can be completed between six and 22 months, he added.

The launch of the study program in 2011 was reported by local media here and here; and announced on this local government website.

Distorted images

Additionally, images shared in social media posts have been taken out of context.

Reverse image searches and keyword searches found the first image to be job on the official Pacquiao Facebook account on September 6, 2019.

However, that does not indicate that the Senator was just signing up, as the Posts claim.

“Never stop learning because life never stops teaching,” we read on Facebook.

The second image, which shows Pacquiao’s graduation ceremony, was taken from this report from broadcaster ABS-CBN from December 11, 2019.

“Senator Manny Pacquiao with his family as he graduates from Makati University with his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science on Wednesday,” the Tagalog caption of the image read.

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