President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to decline the move of the University of the Philippines Board of Regents to offer him a honoris causa of law degree.
"With due respect sa University of the Philippines, I do not accept even if I was mayor. Hindi ako tumatanggap, as a matter of personal and official policy, I do not accept awards. Wala sa pagkatao ko," he told reporters after a command conference in Bohol province.
"Hindi ko nire-reject. To use reject... I simply declined," he added.
The university's Board of Regents has moved to offer Duterte an honorary degree, citing tradition.
But the development has drawn criticism from several sectors, with the Office of the Student Regent opposing the plan.
"Honors are not deserved by a president whose regime killed thousands of citizens and leaders of progressive groups under Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Kapayapaan," the UP Office of the Student Regent said in a statement posted on Facebook.
"Honors must not be given to a president that declares all-out war against his people to quell their struggle for just and lasting peace, and reimposes death penalty to legitimize the killing of the poor."
The incoming head of the university's student council also decried the plan, calling Duterte "unworthy" of the honor.
Earlier, Malacañang said Duterte was not angling for the citation, but could accept it if offered. —JST, GMA News