Friday, December 3, 2010

News Flash: U.P. Has a New President

 (Then-Alumni Regent Alfredo E. Pascual at 
  UP Los Baños last Sept. 20, 2010. 
Photo courtesy of Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo)

The University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR) elected former U.P. Alumni Regent Alfredo E. Pascual this morning as the new President of U.P. in one round of voting.

The breakdown of the voting in the 11-person BOR was as follows: President-elect Pascual got six (6) votes, U.P. Diliman History Professor Maria Serena Diokno got one (1) vote, U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio S. Cao got two (2) votes and former U.P. College of Law Dean Raul Pangalangan got two (2) votes.

President-elect Pascual garnered the following votes according to various regents interviewed by the Diliman Diary after the voting took place: Student Regent Jaqueline Eroles, Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo, Staff Regent Clodualdo "Buboy" Cabrera, Alumni Regent Gladys Tiongco, and two of the three new Malacañang Regents: Former Chief Justice Renato Puno and Elizabeth Orteza-Siguion Reyna.

The other remaining Malacañang regent who did not vote for Mr. Pascual is former College of Business Administration (CBA) Dean Dr. Magdaleno Albarracin, Jr, together with another appointee of President Aquino, Dr. Patricia Licuanan, chair of the BOR and the Commission on Higher Education and Development.

The fact that two Aquino appointees voted for Mr. Pascual and two did not is an indication that Malacañang decided not to actively intervene in the selection of a U.P. President this time, and left it to its appointees to vote according to their best lights.

(Official U.P. announcement of today's election of Mr.
Alfredo E. Pascual as the new U.P. President. To
enlarge the graphic, just click on it. Source:
Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo)

President-elect Pascual's term begins on February 10, 2011 and will last until February 9, 2010 or for a term of six years (see the image embedded above). He will replace outgoing U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman.

(President-elect Pascual speaks before a group at
Quezon Hall right after the announcement)

Speaking before a small crowd made up students, staff, faculty members, union members and journalists, Pascual said that he was "happy" that he made it and that he received word of his election at home. He said that it was a given that budget cuts to State Universities and Colleges including U.P. would become a reality soon and he said that he would focus on ways to meet the shortfall.

"U.P.'s budget is like a bucket with money going out to expenses and so we also have to consider various ways of filling up the bucket," said Pascual, a former long-time professor of finance at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and a former senior executive at the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo told the Diliman Diary that the choice of Mr. Pascual was influenced by recent memories of the undemocratic style of governance of the current U.P. Administration headed by President Roman. She said that Mr. Pascual's assurances of making a point to consult the sectors if he were chosen as U.P. President, and a commitment to ensuring transparency were important factors in selecting him.

(Mr. Pascual with journalists after the announcement)

Taguiwalo, together with Student Regent Eroles and Staff Regent Cabrera, represent the "sectoral regents" who tend to vote along certain set principles. Erroles and her predecessors, former Student Regents Charisse Bernadette Bañez and Cori Alessa Co, have sided with Regents Taguiwalo and Cabrera in opposing the unilateral ouster of the duly elected Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Director Jose Gonzales. They also supported the granting of tenure to U.P. Diliman Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo and opposed the unilateral removal of former Student Regent Bañez herself as a voting regent.

In all the above issues, Eroles told the Diliman Diary after the voting, "Pascual was one with us, and so we voted for him on the basis of our knowledge of his voting track record as a former Alumni Regent on issues important to us."

"Of course we do have some differences with Mr. Pascual," and so we intend to adopt a stand of critical cooperation with him in the BOR," she added. The U.P. President serves as co-chairperson in the eleven member BOR.

The Sectoral Regents philosophical stand is to oppose commercialization of U.P.'s assets because this leads, they say to the commodification and commercialization of education which is structurally biased against those with little means to afford paying through the nose for quality education, compared to students who have the means to go to  private schools.

The Sectoral Regents say that it is the job and the responsibility of the state to uplift the economic well-being of its citizens and a critical way of doing this is to provide students with affordable tertiary education which can only exist with state subsidies. They add that since U.P. graduates are also taught to serve the people, removing the subsidies will only ensure that the wellspring producing many such patriotic individuals will dry up, to the detriment of the entire nation.

On the other hand, President-elect Pascual's training as a finance professor at AIM and a senior executive at the ADB will be to effectively manage the crisis created by a sudden decision by President Benigno S. Aquino III to drastically eliminate whole chunks of state subsidies to State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the 2011 budget, including subsisides to U.P. Mr. Pascual has made it clear that he will bring his skill sets to bear on solving this crisis, and that he will maximize the utilization of idle U.P. assets to augment government funding.

In  the recent past fora for nominees for U.P. President, Mr. Pascual said that while he supported the alternative generation of funds beyond a reliance on the National Government for a budget, he was nevertheless against the commercialization of education. He said that extra revenues generated should not replace national government funding but that these should be subjected to control measures and safeguards

He said that U.P. should take a leadership role in national development and that he would help in making that a reality.

It is through teaching, research and extension work that the development needs of the country can be met, he has said previously. However, he said that high academic standards should always be maintained throughout, adding that U.P. also needs to reinvent itself to become a true research university.

"U.P. should gear itself to research output in language that people can understand; but it should also undertake a search to finding niches in the research world that it can excel in, such as in scientific research and creative outputs," he said.

In the past fora, Mr. Pascual also called for an expansion of U.P.'s graduate program, and also said as far as human resources issues were concerned, that U.P. should observe terms that applied to not just one category of personnel. Elaborating further, Pascual said there should be an honest-to-goodness incentive program with benefits to all.

The remaining nominees for U.P. President were former Budget Secretary and U.P. School of Economics Professor Benjamin Diokno, former Health Secretary and U.P. College of Medicine Professor Esperanza I. Cabral, School of Labor and Industrial Relations Professor Virginia A. Teodosio, former National Treasurer and National College of Public Administration and Governance Professor Leonor M. Briones, former U.P. Diliman Department of English and Comparative Literature Chair Consolacion R. Alaras, U.P. Diliman College of Education senior lecturer Patrick Alain T. Azanza and U.P. Los Baños Chancellor Luis Rey I. Velasco.

To read the Diliman Diary's coverage of Mr. Pascual's vision for U.P. and those of other nominees for U.P. President during the various nominees fora for U.P. President, please click on this link:

President-elect Pascual's nominee's vision paper for U.P. can be accessed at the U.P. website at this link: and his curriculum vitae may be accessed, also at the U.P. website, at this link:

Updates: The Diliman Diary's additional reports on the election of the new U.P. President may be accessed by clicking this link:

(With reports from Ice Morales and Chanda Shahani)

(Other photos by Chanda Shahani)


  1. "The UP Community CONGRATULATES Regent Alfredo E. Pascual for becoming the 20th University President! There's much hope prevailing in the air that the new man at the helm will act to 'reverse the steep decline of UP' after more (or less) than a decade. Claims have it that UP has 'deteriorated' in many ways -academically, institutionally and physically, as a result of 'incompetence and mediocrity' of the past. The new UP Executive, having been deep into (both) industry and academic practice, may have the fine qualities that can stir back the University toward excellence that it was long known for. He may be the man to produce good results."


  2. Atty. Wilfredo "Ike" Rosero, Jr.December 4, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Dear Sir,

    I read your article on Alfredo Pascual in the Diliman Diary and the Inquirer
    article on him.

    He is the best man for the job. He has a good vision for U.P.. He is the leader that U.P needs during this time.

    Looking at his picture, I think the man is not corrupt, is honest, trustworthy and responsible and would be dedicated to U.P. He knows the problems of U.P.

    Being a U.P. President though will not be a walk in a park.

    Very truly yours,

    Atty. Wilfredo "Ike" Rosero, Jr.


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