Saturday, September 11, 2010

Commentary and a Progress Report to our readers: On the Issue of the Alumni Regent

On September 8, 2010 an editorial in the Diliman Diary ( openly questioned the continued presence of the Alumni Regent, Alfredo Pascual, in the Univesity of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR), since it is the BOR that makes the selection for the next U.P. President, with the first round of voting scheduled to take place on November 17, 2010, and since Regent Pascual has accepted the nomination to be one of the candidates for U.P. President.

 The Diliman Diary questioned the dual role being played by Mr. Pascual, since we made the point that it would confer an undue advantage on Mr. Pascual if he continued to sit in the BOR and was privy to its innermost discussions regarding the suitability of this or that candidate, since it would allow him to tailor-fit his presentation and defense for the final interview before the BOR.

Under the 2008 University of the Philippines Charter (R.A. 9500), the President of the U.P. Alumni Association (UPAA) automatically represents the alumni before the BOR as the Alumni Regent.

Reports reaching us from Quezon Hall state that exactly one day after we published our September 8, 2010 editorial, or on September 9, 2010, Ms. Gladys Tiongco, the UPAA Vice-President, Gladys Tiongco took her oath as Alumni Regent. In the meantime, Mr. Pascual has gone on leave as UPAA President

In our previous editorial, we pointed out that UPAA President Alfredo Pascual needs to resign as UPAA President in order to remove the conflict of interest. While we appreciate the effort of his going on leave as UPAA President, we still find this sadly lacking, and look at this as merely window-dressing the problem with a perceived "solution," as observers will point out that Ms. Tiongco will be under pressure - from even just herself - to vote for her own UPAA President who has merely gone on leave - for U.P. President. The net effect is still the same, as we pointed out in our editorial: the BOR is therefore deprived of one intelligent vote  from one of  its members who could objectively consider the very talented and qualified other ten candidates, aside from Mr. Pascual. The Diliman Diary therefore reiterates its call for Mr. Pascual to resign as UPAA President to remove any possibility of conscious or even subconscious psychological pressure being put on Ms. Tiongco to vote for him to the exclusion of the other ten candidates.

This writer is a lifetime member of the UPAA who participated in voting in the last  UPAA elections. This writer voted for a UPAA President who would fulfill his functions as a UPAA President and Alumni Regent; and not for somebody who would parlay his position of trust and confidence in representing the alumni, only to abandon them for the glitter and allure of the U.P. Presidency.

On a broader scale, we think that this maneuver fits into an overarching strategic design on the part of the "Wednesday Club"-dominated U.P. Administration (See Diliman Diary, September 8, 2010)  to continue its intervention in the composition of the BOR in order to maximize the probability of a candidate member of its choice being chosen as U.P. President. In this regard, we reiterate our call to the three Malacañang regents - that is - Regents Nelia Gonzalez, Abraham Sarmiento and Francis Chua - to resign as they no longer belong to the constituency they are supposed to represent. Since they were appointed as midnight appointees by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but since the new President, Benigno S. Aquino III has made it his prerogative to rescind these appointments, then they should really resign before the voting takes place for the U.P. President on November 17, 2010. Let's give every candidate a fair and even chance on a level playing field. U.P. deserves something better than a "lutong macau."


In our September 8, 2010 editorial we stated that the candidates for U.P. president would have to traipse throughout the U.P. System to attend public fora at the different U.P. campuses which are co-located in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. We were wrong.

The public fora will be only in three campuses: UPLB (Sept 20, Umali Hall), UP Diliman (Sept 24, NISMED) and UP Manila (October 14, PGH Science Hall) from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. The public fora will be beamed through the internet to other campuses.

The Diliman Diary apologizes for the error.


We have been informed that Alumni regent Alfredo Pascual who attended the BOR meeting in Mintal, U.P. Mindanao last August 24, 2010 left the meeting when the deliberations started on the nominees for U.P. President. When he was informed that all the nominees have been accepted, including his nomination, he already informed the board that he was going to go on leave as Alumni Association President and as Alumni Regent. He did not participate in the remaining items of the agenda. 

The Diliman Diary gives Regent Pascual a lot of points for inhibiting himself from BOR deliberations by going on leave. Nevertheless, we still feel that he should have gone the entire distance and not just gone on leave but resigned as UPAA President, and therefore as Alumni regent, as  acting Alumni Regent Gladys Tiongco, a vice-president of UPAA, will be under mental pressure to vote for him for as long as he remains UPAA President, albeit on leave. By not resigning, therefore, the BOR is still deprived of one voting regent who could have more objectively considered all eleven nominees for the position of U.P. President.

(Chanda Shahani is the Editor of the Diliman Diary)

1 comment:

  1. The BOR is scheduled to make their vote on UP presidency next week. Yet, Mr. Pascual did not seem to heed the call for his resignation as UPAA president/alumni regent. I agree with you that this can unduly influence Ms. Tiongco's vote (she'll be a permanent member of the BOR if Mr. Pascual gets the UP presidency). Ms. Tiongco should have abstained from all BOR proceedings on this matter and should abstain during the voting, as she is clearly a part of interest. Is this the kind of person that will lead the National University for the next six years. Is delicadeza also dead in UP?


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