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Fact check: Who authored the bills for the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines law?

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Fact check: Who authored the bills for the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines law?
This Jan. 1, 2018 satellite image shows China's installations on Fiery Cross or Kagitingan Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
CSIS / AMTI via DigitalGlobe

MANILA, Philippines — A claim that presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. authored the bill that became a landmark law on defining the country’s territorial sea made rounds on social media last week.

CLAIM: Marcos’ website claims that he "authored landmark laws such as the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines law." The former chairperson of the Duterte's Build, Build, Build program parroted this in her column in a daily newspaper.

RATING: This is false.

FACTS:

What the posts say

Marcos’ official website said as a legislator, he authored Republic Act 9522 or the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law. "With the ongoing international disputes, this crucial piece of legislation defines what constitutes the Philippine territorial sea."

Screengrab by Philstar.com

His biography on the Senate website claims that while at the House of Representatives in 2007, Marcos authored "one of the important pieces of legislation", which is RA 9522.

Former Build, Build, Build chairperson Anna Mae Lamentillo parroted on her “Night Owl” opinion column dated January 12 the same claim. A quote card on Lamentillo’s claim also circulated on social media.

What the posts left out

RA 9522 was enacted on March 10, 2009, during the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The law is a consolidation of Senate Bill 2699 and House Bill 3216.

Based on the House of Representatives website, Rep. Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City) filed House Bill 3216. A check on the Senate website meanwhile showed that Senate Bill 2699 was filed by Sens. Antonio Trillanes IV, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Edgardo Angara, Rodolfo Biazon, Juan Ponce Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

A Marcos did file a version of the Baselines bill, according to the House legislative information system. That was in 2004, when then Rep. Imee Marcos filed House Bill No. 214 during the 13th Congress.

University of the Philippines law professor and maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal in a Facebook post also refuted the claim.

He added that he was present during the Bicameral Committee where the two versions of the House of Representatives and Senate proposal were harmonized.

Although Marcos is listed as a member of the House contingent, Batongbacal said the lawmaker was not there. "I know because I was there and I would have noticed," he also said.

Essential context

Marcos emerged as the top pick as president among respondents of the Pulse Asia survey if the 2022 polls were conducted in December.

His qualifications and experience as a public official, as well as of other presidential aspirants, are put under scrutiny by the public and the voters.

Why it matters

Snippets of Lamentillo’s claims were sent by readers to Philstar.com for verification.

Lamentillo’s column, Marcos’ profile on the Senate website and his own website still reflect the claim.

This is also not the first claim of Marcos that was fact-checked. He claimed in an October vlog that the International Rice Research Institute was established during the Marcos dictatorship, but this is false.

 

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This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

Want to know more about our fact-checking initiative? Check our FAQs here.

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at [email protected].

BONGBONG MARCOS

FACT CHECK

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