UP asked: Why even consider an honorary degree for Duterte?

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 20 2017 04:22 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2017 05:14 PM

MANILA - The incoming student council president of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman believes officials of the country's premiere state university committed a mistake when it considered granting President Rodrigo Duterte an honorary doctorate degree. 

Cassie Deluria, who also heads the UP Diliman chapter of the Akbayan Youth group, said even if the university offered an honorary degree to previous Philippine presidents, there should still be a compelling reason to push through with tradition.

"There should have been a question of why are we going to do it," she told ANC on Thursday. "You shouldn't give the award to any every single president just because they are president."

Duterte already said he will not accept the honorary degree from UP "as a matter of personal and official policy." But Deluria is hoping the President would not change his mind.

Deluria said the UP Board of Regents should have first considered Duterte's kind of leadership, given the tough-talking President's controversial stance on certain social issues.

"If it is leadership towards creating a culture of impunity... If it's a culture of silencing people who don't agree with you... if it's a culture of treating women as objects, that's not the kind of leadership worthy of an award," said Deluria. 

The student leader said they will be speaking with the Board of Regents to tweak this tradition.

Meanwhile, Professor Butch Dalisay, UP's Vice President for Public Affairs, said the idea of conferring an honorary doctorate degree to Duterte came with an invitation for him to be the university's commencement speaker.

"Traditionally, the speaker receives the honorary degree," said Dalisay. 

He added that the Board of Regents also did not make any official communication to the President when it considered giving the honorary title, and the offer was informally made.