MANILA – The student regent of the University of the Philippines (UP) on Tuesday denounced the planned conferment of an honorary degree on President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a statement, Student Regent Raoul Danniel Manuel said Duterte does not deserve the UP Board of Regents’ (BOR) traditional offer of an honorary Doctor of Laws, because of alleged extrajudicial killings amid the administration's war on drugs, and the firebrand leader’s call for the return of the death penalty.
“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,” said Manuel.
Duterte has also yet to prove himself, the student regent said, and many of his promises to the Filipino people remain unfulfilled.
“The Office of the Student Regent calls upon the UP Administration to stop its plan. Let us fight for a university of the people: a university that serves as social critic and defender of the oppressed,” Manuel said.
Protests for the conferring of the honoris causa are set on Wednesday near the Philippine Coconut Authority’s office in Quezon City, just outside the Diliman campus of UP.
UP BOR Chairperson Patricia Licuanan earlier said that Duterte has yet to accept the offer of an honorary degree.
UP Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Dalisay Jr. also said that to the best of his knowledge, “no official communication has been sent to the Palace from the Office of the President of UP about a possible conferment.”
In a memorandum issued early in April, the Office of the UP Secretary cited among matters approved by the BOR, the conferment of Doctor of Laws degrees.
The motion was made by Senator Regent Francis Escudero, and was seconded by Regents Frederick Mikhail “Spocky” Farolan and Angelo Jimenez, both Duterte appointees.
The BOR will not announce the degrees until the conferees accept the honor, the memorandum says.