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UST publications adviser apologizes for 'Varsitarian' editorial

October 9, 2012 12:00pm
The publications adviser of the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) apologized for a widely-criticized editorial calling pro-Reproductive Health (RH) bill professors from Ateneo and De La Salle "lemons and cowards." But he stressed that sharp words were needed to get their message across. 

Lito Zulueta, the publications adviser, even acknowledged that the editorial was "un-Christian." The Varsitarian editorial championed Philippine bishops' conservative stand on reproductive health. 

"The editorial position is put vehemently, I must admit. Siguro un-Christian, yes, we admit that. But sa media, the polemic is a polemic. It's vehement speech, very grave speech. We admit that, and we apologize for that," Zulueta said on GMA Network's "Saksi" newscast on October 8. 
In its editorial "RH bill, Ateneo, and La Salle: Of lemons and cowards," "The Varsitarian" criticized pro-RH statements issued separately by some 200 professors from Ateneo and around 50 professors from DLSU. 
"The Varsitarian" asked how Ateneo and La Salle professors could "dismiss the medically established dangerous side effects of contraceptives when they are not even physicians."

The publication noted that UST, "which has the oldest and the foremost school of medicine in the Philippines and Southeast Asia, has always warned about the dangerous side effects of contraceptives."
In the editorial, "The Varsitarian" said the Ateneo and La Salle profesors are "intellectual pretenders and interlopers."

"The Varsitarian" also criticized the school administrations for not reprimanding their faculty members for openly defying the bishops. 


Also on "Saksi," DLSU political science professor Dr. Antonio Contreras said, "Sana naman 'wag nila kaming tawagin ng kung anu-anong pangalan na nakakainsulto. 'Yun ang medyo 'di katanggap-tanggap sa statement - na parang kami ay dishonest intellectually. Pero karapatan nila 'yun, eh 'di sabihin nila 'yun. Malaya ang bayan na ito." 
Contreras, a former DLSU dean, was one of those who initiated DLSU professors' pro-RH bill statement last September. 
Some students from Ateneo also criticized the editorial.

"I don't think it's right for them to say that because I believe in academic freedom, I respect our professors," said one Ateneo student on "Saksi."

"It didn't really reflect the stand of the school and I think it's not right for them to call out on everyone," said another.
The editorial was also criticized online but some Internet users also defended "The Varsitarian." 
"UST's stand should also be our stand. There's nothing wrong in imposing rules that will uphold Catholic ideals," Jade Ilagan said on Twitter.
Students from UST who were interviewed on the "Saksi" report also had different views about the editorial.
"Sumobra yung pagkakasabi. Hindi naman lahat same opinion doon sa RH bill," said one UST student.

"I think it was to the point naman, and totoo naman siya, yung na-state doon sa article na yun," another UST student said. - VVP/HS, GMA News
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