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The “About” page of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s campaign website as well as his senate biography page say that he authored Republic Act (R.A.) 9522 or the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law. Records from both the Senate and House of Representatives say otherwise.
“As a legislator, BBM authored landmark laws such as the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law (RA 9522). With the ongoing international disputes, this crucial piece of legislation defines what constitutes the Philippine territorial sea,” his campaign page reads.
His senate biography website claims the same thing.
“In 2007, Bongbong was again elected to Congress, where he was appointed Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. During this term, one of the important pieces of legislation he authored was the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law (Republic Act No. 9522).”
The Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law was not Marcos Jr.’s work but of the late Rep. Antonio Cuenco – one of Marcos’ colleagues during the 14th Congress. It was Cuenco’s version of the bill that made its way to the bicameral conference committee for synthesis with Senate Bill (SB) 2699 before being submitted to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
According to the House of Representatives’ Legislative Information System (LEGIS), Marcos did author his version of the bill (HB 3969), but it did not go beyond the House’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. To his credit, he was part of the bicameral conference committee in crafting the report. A report also said that he supported the law.
Such a claim dates as early as September 2016, with a Facebook page named "Filipino Fighting For Freedom of Information 4FoI" saying that Marcos authored the law with the late Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
The dictator’s son was not the only one who made this mistake. Build, Build, Build committee chair Anna Mae Lamentillo published an article in Manila Bulletin, saying “As legislator, one of the most important pieces of legislation that BBM authored is the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law (R.A. 9522), which defines what constitutes the Philippine territorial sea.” Emphasis ours.
The article was soon edited after she received criticisms over the claim. It now says “As legislator, one of the most important pieces of legislation that BBM was a part of is the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law (R.A. 9522), which defines what constitutes the Philippine territorial sea.” Emphasis ours.
Lamentillo is a graduate of BS Development Communication from the University of the Philippines, where they were taught the importance of assessing the quality of information.
Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.
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