Debunked on #HistorySpacePH: ‘Highest-scorer’ in bar exam history claim of Marcos supporters

September 13, 2021 - 1:54 PM
Portrait photo of President Ferdinand Marcos (Philippine Presidential Museum and Library)

Late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. did not get the highest score in the Philippine bar exam, according to Supreme Court records.

This historical fact was brought up online during a Twitter Space session called #HistorySpacePH conducted at 8 p.m. last Saturday, September 11.

The online event titled “The Rise of Marcos and His Myths” discussed the misleading information and half-truths that the Marcos family and their supporters continued to propagate until today.

This was also in line with the commemoration of Marcos’ 104th birth anniversary.

One of the topics brought up was debunking the claim that Marcos holds the highest score in the Philippine bar examinations history.

Twitter user @iam_jniest shared an old infographic of fact-checker VERA Files about it.

The user cited it was former Supreme Court Associate Justice Florenz Regalado who still holds the record with a stellar score of 96.70%.

“Officially, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Florenz Regalado got the highest score in the Philippine bar exam (96.70%), not Ferdinand Marcos,” the user wrote.

In the infographic which was released last January, the original Philippine Collegian report of the country’s bar exam in 1939 was compared with an edited one that used the publication’s masthead.

While both images bore the same headline, the edited copy only displayed Marcos’ enlarged photo and his supposed grade of 98.01% with a breakdown of the rest of his scores at the licensure exam.

The late dictator, however, did not obtain that grade.

Rather, according to VERA Files, the student paper reported that Marcos got a score of 92.35%. He was also that year’s bar topnotcher.

VERA Files stated that this detail could also be seen in an old photo of an issue of the now-defunct The Philippine Herald and another photo of the Kule’s front page displayed at the Ferdinand E. Marcos Presidential Center in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

These evidence were sent to them by Miguel Paolo Reyes, part of the Marcos Regime Research team at the UP Third World Studies Center.

In a letter sent to them by the SC’s Office of the Bar Confidant, it was stated that Regalado is still the highest scorer of the country’s bar exam.

“Based on the records of this Office, Ret. Justice Florenz D. Regalado still holds the highest score in the Philippine Bar Examinations,” the SC was quoted as saying.

This was also stated in Regalado’s profile at the Senate Electoral Tribunal website.

“He remains the record holder for the highest average in the Philippine Bar Examinations, with his 1954 mark of 96.7%,” the website read.

Moreover, VERA Files also noted that the manipulated front cover of the Kule displayed the wrong date.

It showed that the fake version was published on a Tuesday, December 9, 1939.

This date, however, fell on a Saturday.

The original issue was published on Dec. 5, 1939.

In VERA Files article, they were fact-checking fabricated images of the Kule circulated by three Facebook accounts in January.

In 2019, Agence-France Presse also disproved the same piece of disinformation seen on Facebook accounts of Marcos’ supporters.