Some supporters of former Senator Bongbong Marcos are insisting that he proposed a bill for free tuition in state universities.
This was their reaction to the news that President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017 into law. It was co-authored by Senator Bam Aquino, who is now being lambasted as a ‘credit-grabber’ by some of Marcos’ supporters.
One Marcos supporter wrote: “Anyway kay BBM pa yan, hindi lang inapprove nila Arroyo, then Sen. Gatchalian and Sen. Miriam Defensor submitted it in the senate too pero hindi inapprove ni Pnoy… Kaya salamat kayo kay Duterte sa pag approve para sa kabataan ang napasakto pa kay Bam.”
He also included a link to the November 2015 Manila Standard article, “Marcos eyes free college tuition,” and copied the content of the article for the benefit of those in free data mode.
Another supporter posted on the Facebook group “Imee Marcos for Senator Movement,” expressing the same sentiment and copying the same Manila Standard article.
“BBM proposed bill for free tuition fees in STATE UNIVERSITIES since 2014 when he was a Senator NOT Bam Aquino,” she wrote.
Yet another one claimed that Aquino was lying and that former President Benigno Aquino III did not approve Marcos’ bill because he “didn’t want the people to recognize the work of Senator Bongbong Marcos.” This time, she added a link to a Manila Times article, “Marcos pushes free college education.”
Meme Buster has tackled this issue before involving Marcos and the free tuition bill. In December last year, we busted online reports claiming that Marcos was “the mind behind the free tuition fee.” These reports surfaced after P8.3 billion of the 2017 budget was allocated to cover the free tuition fee for students in all state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country. They brought up a YouTube video showing Marcos discussing about his plans to push for free tuition fee.
While the video in our article debunking the lie about Marcos being responsible for the free tuition fee in 2017 is no longer accessible, we found yet another YouTube video showing him talking about free college education.
But as what we’ve written before, the P8.3 billion was allocated to free college tuition in 2017 as a compromise after Senator Panfilo Lacson suspected the funds as “pork-line insertions.”
As to the Marcos supporters’ claims that Marcos filed a bill to push for free college education, that is simply not true. When we checked the former senator’s website, there was no bill on free tertiary education at all. He merely spoke about eyeing this future, but did not actually file any bill about it.
These are the Senate bills Marcos filed involving education:
The Facebook page “Bobby B.” even chastised Marcos supporters for “stealing” the idea to benefit former Senator Marcos.
“Aba, aba! May pag-NANAKAW nanaman ng idea para maiangat ang pangalan! Akalain mong ipinagkakalat ng mga BBM “online warriors” na orihinal na ideya “DAW” ni Bongbong Marcos ang free tuition? Eh ayon sa kanyang website, wala siyang ipinanukalang batas na naglalayong gawing libre ang tuition fee ng mga mag-aaral. Hindi kataka-taka kung mgpapa- press con siya na siya ang “most decorated politician” sa mga susunod na araw. Nakaka-Buset!” the page wrote.