Busted: Bongbong Marcos is NOT “the mind” behind P8.3-B free tuition fee budget allocation; here’s the story 

A website called claimed that former Senator Bongbong Marcos is “the mind” behind the allocation of P8.3 billion for free college tuition in state universities and colleges (SUCs) in 2017. It disputed how Senator Bam Aquino seemed to have claimed the credit.

According to the article, a YouTube video showed how Marcos discussed his plans to fight for free tuition fee.

Bongbong Marcos Free Tuition Fee

There is indeed a video in the article, where Marcos said that the government only needed to set aside P15 billion to pay for the students in the SUCs. He also compared it to how the government even spent P10 billion for the APEC summit in November 2015 in Manila.


A Business Mirror article also reported about Marcos’ push for free college education, based on his press briefing in Boracay on November 13, 2015.

The article was even shared by Facebook pages “Newsinfolearn” and “Marcos Warriors,” among many other pages, and gained thousands of shares.

Bongbong Marcos Free Tuition Fee
Bongbong Marcos Free Tuition Fee

Based on the comments on both Facebook pages, many netizens bought the article’s claim crediting Marcos as the one who thought of fighting for the free college tuition fee.

Bongbong Marcos Free Tuition Fee

However, the allocation of the P8.3 billion budget to college tuition among SUCs is not because of any Senate bill and definitely not because of Bongbong Marcos.


It was actually intended for infrastructure projects in ARMM, which was then moved under the DPWH budget, although the spending was still intended for ARMM. This is the same budget that Senator Ping Lacson suspected as “pork-like insertions” in the 2017 budget.

Here’s a short video explanation behind the P8.3-billion free tuition budget, as uploaded on Lacson’s official Facebook page:


On December 14, Lacson and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian voted against the Senate ratification of the 2017 budget, which was approved by 17 senators. Their dissenting vote is based on the belief that there were still pork barrel allocations in next year’s budget.

“I want to see this as a test of the political will of the President. He always says that corruption must stop. And this is the best test as far as I am concerned to show he does not want corruption,” Lacson said.

“Given the chance, I want to discuss this with the President and point out the specific provisions that need to be reviewed and thoroughly studied and even vetoed,” he added.

Facebook user Tanya Perez also wrote a longer explanation about the P8.3 billion budget.

Bongbong Marcos Free Tuition Fee

Although the Senate bills had nothing to do with the 2017 free tuition fee budget, we still checked the pending bills to see how Marcos did in his fight for free college tuition, as the dailynewsph claimed.

While he talked about free college tuition, he did not file any Senate bill about it. Based on his website,, the Education category showed that he only filed the following bills:

Bongbong Marcos Free Tuition Fee

We also found out that there are a lot of Senate bills filed for free college education, which are still pending in the committee:


  • Senator Ralph Recto filed Senate Bill No. 2986 (Tuition-free Higher Education Act of 2015), seeking a full tuition subsidy for Filipinos taking bachelor’s degree, certificate degree, or any comparable degree in government-run colleges or universities. He filed it on October 6, 2015, before Marcos’ press briefing about him pushing for free college tuition.
  • Senators Ralph Rector and Joel Villanueva filed another senate bill about free tuition, Senate Bill No. 61 (Free Public College Tuition Act of 2016) on June 30, 2016.
  • Senator Sonny Angara filed Senate Bill No. 133 (One Family, One Graduate Act) on June 30, 2016.
  • Senator JV Ejercito filed Senate Bill No. 158 (Tuition-free Higher Education Act of 2016) on June 30, 2016.
  • Senator Bam Aquino filed Senate Bill No. 177 (Free Higher Education For All Act) seeking to provide full tuition fee for all students enrolled in state universities and colleges (SUCs). He filed it on June 30, 2016 under the 17th Congress. It is also pending.
  • Senator Sherwin Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No. 198 (Free Higher Education Act) on June 30, 2016.
  • Senator Kiko Pangilinan filed Senate Bill. No. 962 (Tuition-free Higher Education Act of 2016) on August 1, 2016. Status is also pending.

Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago also issued a statement welcoming the move to pour P8.3 billion into college tuition subsidy. She said that this development did not come from “benevolence” but a “victory for the youth movement which has long fought for the right to education.”

Unlike dailynewsph’s claim, Bongbong Marcos is not “the mind” behind the free tuition budget for 2017 and he definitely was not the only one who spoke out about it.

Sources: (,,,,,,

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