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Duterte unworthy of honorary doctorate —incoming UP student council chair

The incoming chairperson of the University of the Philippines Student Council (USC) scored the plan of their school’s Board of Regents (BOR) to confer upon President Rodrigo Duterte an honorary doctorate in line with tradition.

Benjie Allen Aquino said in a statement that Duterte is “unworthy of any distinction” from the premier state university, calling the President “a self-confessed murderer.”

“President Duterte is guilty of treating women as objects, disregarding people’s fundamental human rights, and condoning unspeakable acts of violence against Filipinos. He is not worthy of being honored by the University,” he said.

Members of the BOR, UP’s highest policy-making body, have confirmed that Duterte has been offered the honorary doctorate.

A summary of the board’s meeting last April 5 showed that this was upon the motion of Sen. Francis Escudero, chairperson of the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture, and seconded by Regent Frederick Mikhail Farolan and BOR member Angelo Jimenez.

The plan has met backlash from the likes of Supreme Court spokesman Ted Te, as well as the university’s Office of the Student Regent.

Farolan said they expected the criticisms, but added that this plan is “customary.”

Aquino, who won the USC chair post earlier this month, said: “While it may be deemed as a custom, given the current context and political climate, conferring an honorary doctorate degree to Duterte leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It is offensive, unpleasant, and a wretched injustice to the thousands left for dead by extrajudicial killings.”

He also noted that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, an alumnus of the university, was conferred the same in 1966.

“It is disgusting that UP will allow history to repeat itself,” Aquino said.

Aside from Marcos, the university also conferred an honorary doctorate to Duterte’s predecessor, former President Benigno Aquino III, as well as:

Manuel Quezon (March 16, 1929)
Sergio Osmeña (March 25, 1930)
Manuel Roxas (April 13, 1948)
Elpidio Quirino (February 12, 1949)
Emilio Aguinaldo (June 12, 1953)
Ramón Magsaysay (April 5, 1955)
Carlos García (April 7, 1959)
Diosdado Macapagal (May 30, 1965)
José Laurel Sr. (April 20, 1969)
Corazon Aquino (April 20, 1986)
Fidel Ramos (April 24, 1993)

—ALG, GMA News