MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) - The Ateneo de Manila University's Board of Trustees on Monday rejected the resignation of business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan from the board.
Pangilinan's offer to "retire" from the university's board came after it was found out that his speech during the school's commencement exercises last March had plagiarized passages.
Ateneo de Manila University
Board of Trustees
Manuel V. Pangilinan - Chairman
J. Roberto Delgado
Fr. Jose Mario Francisco, SJ
Fr. Johnny Go, SJ
Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga
Fr. Jose Cecilio Magadia, SJ
Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ
Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ
Dr. Mari-Jo Ruiz
Gov. Gabriel Singson
Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ
Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin, SJ
Fr. Roberto Yap, SJ
According to Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, president of ADMU and member of the board, the school is not belittling the seriousness of the charges of plagiarism. However, he said this was not intentional on the part of Pangilinan since it was a speechwriter who drafted the address delivered last March 26 and 27 to two batches of graduates.
Nebres also said Pangilinan had acknowledged responsibility for the error and had issued an apology.
"The Board accepts Mr. Pangilinan's apology as the appropriate response to this unfortunate incident," Nebres said in a statement after a special ADMU board of trustees meeting. "However, the unanimous decision of the Board is not to accept Mr. Pangilinan's resignation. It expresses full confidence in his leadership as Chairman."
Read: ADMU BoT statement (via www.ateneo.edu)
ADMU also rejected suggestions that the school take back its honoris causa degree in humanities given to Pangilinan. Nebres said the bases for the honorary degree were still valid.
"On the matter of the honorary degree conferred on Mr. Pangilinan, the reasons for the conferment are articulated in the citation. These are his visionary leadership, his love of country and service and commitment to our people, his generous self-giving to our country, the Ateneo de Manila and many other institutions. These remain unchanged," Nebres said.
The ADMU urged Pangilinan to reconsider his resignation as chair of the board of trustees since "there is so much to be done, not just for the Ateneo, but for our country and people."
Meanwhile, the Ateneo's graduating class also responded to the issue with a letter for Pangilinan.
The official response, written by the batch's student council president Gregorio Ramon Tingson, was posted at the university's web site.
Read: ADMU Loyola Schools Batch 2010's Official Response to Manuel V. Pangilinan
"Batch 2010 would like you to know that like Father Ben, we understand that this incident has caused much personal embarrassment and pain on your part," the letter read.
"And also with Father Ben, the Batch accepts your earnest apology wholeheartedly, and also utterly respects the fact that you do take full responsibility, even though the whole thing was not entirely of your doing," it read.
"Also like Father Ben, the Batch would have to disagree with your decision of retiring from your duties in the Ateneo, especially for the Ateneo community," it said.
"Speaking in behalf of the alumni and undergraduates of the university, we indeed recognize that you are very much valued by the Ateneo community; so much so that it is believed we are fully equipped in moving on, learning, and going forward from this whole regrettable occurrence," the letter added.