Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Commentary and Public Service Annoucement: We believe in the marketplace of ideas, for nobody has the monopoly on Truth

The Diliman Diary has done its best to cover key developments at the University of the Philippines, which we count as being one of the major sources of news to our readers who are primarily interested in relevant news coming from, influenced by or having an influence on events in the Diliman area.

Certainly, important events in the Diliman area would include the 2010 Search Process for a New U.P. President. The Diliman Diary does not pretend to be an online newspaper or a wire service. We do not have the resources of these organizations to provide comprehensive coverage of any event. We are an alternative thrice-monthly blog (although these days we find ourselves covering events more frequently than anticipated due to the fast-moving nature of events) that is opinonated, takes a stand but still tries its level best to follow the blogger's code of ethics ( We are also dependent, to a certain extent, on information submitted to us by our readers that supplement our own individual efforts at reportage. We welcome submissions that may be the exact reverse or even permutations of our editorial stands for we aim at balanced coverage from a longitudinal perspective, and all viewpoints are welcome and we assure you that we will kill a story not just because we disagree with its contents, but only if will not serve the greater good. However, we draw the line at anything offensive such as hate language, libelous statements or anything that a minor should not hear, view or read.

Editorially, we do not support any particular nominee for U.P. President, but we have been consistent in criticizing heavy-handed attempts by the outgoing U.P. Administration to subvert the creation of a true marketplace of ideas within the Board of Regents (BOR) by interfering with the composition of the BOR itself by perpetuating the terms of the 3 Malacañang midnight appointee regents by renominating them recently when Malacañang asked for NEW nominees. The U.P. Administration nominated them anyway, despite their abysmal voting records, which perpetuated many of the failed policies of the outgoing administration, including the unilateral removal of PGH Director Jose Gonzales, railroading the privatization of portions of PGH despite a legal opinion by the Department of Justice that this was not in accordance to the 2008 U.P. Charter of 2008 among others.

Intervention with Malacañang allows the U.P. Administration to load the dice in their favor so as to help their chosen nominee, as the BOR selects the next U.P. President. Not only is this cheating, but the results of such cheating go far beyond a mere tarnishing of the cheaters' own reputations but end up afflicting everybody: other U.P. nominees who expected a fair contest, U.P. students, alumni and faculty, and the Filipino People, many of whom expect much from the next leader of U.P., and who deserve nothing less than the best possible choice amongst all the eleven nominees for U.P. President. This can only be done if the members of the BOR remain open-minded for as long as possible before they make their choices. What we object to are regents who have already made up their minds from the very get-go, upon strict instructions from the outgoing U.P. Administration who only want one candidate to win (theirs).

The U.P. Adminsitration should include the nominees of the Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo, as well as from other sectors, such as the U.P. Alumni Association (through the Alumni Regent) in its official communication to Malacanang so that President Benigno S. Aquino III has a buffet of choices of nominees to the BOR from which to choose the next three Malacanang Regents.

The Malacanang Regents should be people familiar with U.P. and who will be accountable not just to President Aquino, but to the national interest and the U.P. community as well. Since U.P. is an academic institution, we would expect them to be experts in their fields in order to bring a multi-disciplinary perspective to the BOR. An independent-minded BOR stands the best chance of making the best possible choice for U.P. President, given the fact that there are so many talents now (including the U.P. Administration choices too, by the way) who have accepted the nomination to be U.P. President. If U.P. claims to be a meritocracy, then surely it is the most meritorious candidate, chosen by the BOR, who should make the grade, no matter what "faction" he or she belongs to.

If we allow the BOR to be dominated by one singe interest which produced U.P.'s top academic leader in 2004, then we are setting ourselves up "for six more years of the same failed policies as the outgoing Administration" (with apologies to U.S. President Barack Obama on the administration of former President George W. Bush). Nobody wants six more years of untrammeled mediocrity running the premier national university. The results speak for themselves.

But we digress from the issue at hand. The Diliman Diary believes that our readers, decisionmakers, policymakers, and the members of the BOR benefit from an embarrassment of information which allows them to make up their own minds about who should be the best candidate gto be U.P. President. This is the marketplace of ideas versus the tyranny of numbers, with the former besting the latter (or so we hope). In this respect, we will do our humble bit to add to the stock of knowledge about the nominees to our readers, not only through coverage of the nominees' fora, but by publishing information they send us directly.

For example, we have published an article sent in by one nominee, Dr. Patrick Azanza of the U.P. Diliman College of Education (please see and are also posting the speech of Professor Leonor M. Briones (see above or please click on before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

We encourage other nominees and their friends and supporters to send in their material as we are an equal opportunity community blog trying to accomodate all the sectors of the Diliman community in its coverage. The Diliman Diary is encouraging any or all the nominees for U.P. President to email us at any relevant material in the interests of giving our readers the maximum amount of information regarding their capabilities.

We wish all the nominees the best of luck!

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