Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pascual is U.P. President and He Deserves Our Support

By Dr. Patrick Alain T. Azanza

This is a retort to the blog posts that malign the reputation of UP President-elect Alfredo Pascual who has been referred to, for instance, in pinoyexchange.com as an “academic lightweight” for his “lack of a PhD” and lack of “scholarly and academic reputation.”

A Ph.D is indeed a big plus factor, but the criteria for being UP President does not exclude one who does not hold a doctoral degree. In fact, Mr. Pascual is not the first to become UP President without a PhD. Senator Edgardo J. Angara himself was not a PhD degree holder.

All of us eleven aspirants were pre-screened by the UP Board of Regents vis a vis a rigid set of standards before we were declared qualified to vie for the top UP post. Mr. Pascual, along with ten other nominees including myself, passed all the qualification requirements to become UP President in accordance with the UP Charter of 2008.

As a human resource management expert and a rival candidate of Mr. Pascual for the UP presidency, I am most glad that although I failed to clinch the post, Mr. Pascual triumphed. During the various candidates’ fora, we took very similar positions in various UP issues although I would think that I was more vocal in addressing concerns about the continuing decline of the quality of UP education in the past years.

Nonetheless, throughout the search process, I noted the wisdom, competence, experience, and capability of Mr. Pascual to successfully govern the University. I admire his track record of taking principled stance on critical issues besetting UP along with other concerns of the sectors of the students, administrative staff, researchers and faculty whom I tenaciously support. I also believe Mr. Pascual’s financial expertise, vast network as UP Alumni president, and ability to generate the much-needed funds for the University will prove valuable to him as UP president.

A week before the election day, I was told by Regent Buboy Cabrera that the union leaders were agonizing about whom to support between me and Mr. Pascual. Three days before the election day, I talked to both the administrative and student regents to inform them that for the sake of UP and the nation, the sectoral regents must choose a common candidate. To ensure our victory against the status quo, I told them I was willing to give way provided they ensure that the common choice of the sectoral regents would prevail.

On the eve of December 2, 2010, All UP Workers’ Union President Noli Anoos and Administrative Staff Regent Buboy Cabrera informed me that they would support either me or Mr. Pascual and we all agreed that so as not to leave everything to chance, “the sectoral choice for the next UP President must get six votes during the very first round of secret balloting.” The Union members told me that Chief Justice Reynato Puno and Regent Bibeth Orteza “promised to support the cause” of the sectors.

At around 11 pm of the same day, Mr. Pascual and I exchanged text messages and congratulated each other. Deep inside, I already knew the result of the elections that was to happen the next day and I expressed it in my last text message that night to Mr. Pascual, to wit: “I congratulate you too for what lies to be the future of UP and the nation.”

In a nutshell, that explains why I got zero votes while Mr. Pascual got six solid votes during the UP Presidential election to the surprise of all traditional academic leaders of UP who were expecting several rounds of horse-trading during the election of the next UP President.

December 3, 2010 marked the feat and achievement of the students, faculty, research and administrative staff sectors over anything else. Mr. Pascual emerged as the clear choice of those who were entrusted by law to choose the next UP President. On that day, I felt honored to have lost the position to this man whom I consider as an ally and whom I respect as an equally-capable professional. I immediately called up Mr. Pascual to personally congratulate him and to cheer for him as he embraced his destiny.

At this point, to raise the issue of lack of qualification as UP President on the part of Mr. Pascual is nonsense. He is qualified. Period. And the UP Board of Regents has given him the clear mandate as the next UP President, even much clearer than how the outgoing UP President got hers six years ago. We must respect the election process and wish Mr. Pascual well.

Let us all give him our full support and hope that he succeed as the next President of our beloved National University.

(Editor's note: The above statement was emailed on December 7, 2010 to the Diliman Diary by Dr. Patrick Alain Azanza, one of the eleven nominees for U.P. President. We are posting this in line with our policy of accepting a myriad of viewpoints from inside and outside the Diliman community, for inclusion in our weblog)

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