MANILA – The University of the Philippines (UP) is set to offer President Rodrigo Duterte an honorary degree, which it traditionally gives to the nation’s head of state.
In a report, the Philippine Star quoted a text message from UP Board of Regents (BOR) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan that UP will confer an honorary degree or honoris causa on Duterte, “in keeping with tradition.”
Duterte has yet to accept the offer, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chief said.
This was seconded by UP Vice President for Public Affairs Jose Dalisay Jr., who told ABS-CBN News, “to the best of my 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.
Dalisay said that there is no given length of time as far as the process is concerned, but an official memorandum will be released only after the honoree accepts in principle.
“Right now, everything in conjecture,” he said.
Dalisay also said that there might be more than one recipient of the honorary degrees, according to the BOR decision.
According to Dalisay, UP has conferred honorary Doctor of Laws degrees on most Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines:
1. Manuel L. Quezon (March 16, 1929);
2. Sergio Osmeña (March 25, 1930);
3. Manuel A. Roxas (April 13, 1948);
4. Elpidio Quirino (Feb. 12, 1949);
5. Emilio Aguinaldo (June 12, 1953);
6. Ramon Magsaysay (April 5, 1955);
7. Carlos P. Garcia (April 7, 1959);
8. Diosdado Macapagal (May 30, 1965);
9. Ferdinand Marcos (May 22, 1966);
10. Jose P. Laurel Sr. (April 20, 1969—posthumous);
11. Corazon Aquino (April 20, 1986);
12. Fidel V. Ramos (April 24, 1993); and
13. Benigno Aquino III (April 17, 2011).
Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo were also offered honorary degrees, but Dalisay said they could find no record of their official replies, if any, regarding the conferment.
Public administration professor and former UP Vice President for Public Affairs Edna Co, meanwhile, said that it is likely that Duterte was suggested for a UP honoris causa, but if he was offered the degree, he has yet to accept it.
As of this writing, Malacanang has remained mum on the matter.
ABS-CBN News got in touch with UP BOR Co-chairperson Danilo Concepcion and Escudero, but both have yet to comment on the issue as of this writing.