Manny Pangilinan tenders 'irrevocable' resignation from Ateneo board


Posted at Apr 16 2010 01:48 PM | Updated as of Apr 17 2010 04:31 PM

Also relinquishes honorary degree

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 2) - Business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan has submitted his irrevocable resignation from the Board of Trustees of the Ateneo de Manila University, in light of the plagiarism issue surrounding his commencement address last March.

He disclosed this to reporters during a press conference on Friday.

This was confirmed by the Ateneo in a statement released later in the day.

"In that light and all things considered, it is best that I stand firm in my decision to retire, and reiterate this wish in my earlier note to you on 3rd April 2010. Please take this letter as confirmation of my resignation from the Board of Trustees of the Ateneo with immediate effect," according to the ADMU, quoting Pangilinan's letter to Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, ADMU president.

The ADMU said that in the letter, Pangilinan acknowledged the initial decision of the Board to reject his resignation.

"I am indeed grateful to the Board and to you for the kind words of support," Pangilinan said.

"Circumstances have continued to the point where [this issue] is creating division within the university. I have no desire to see this happen, or be an accessory to it," the erstwhile ADMU board chair said.

"Further, for the sake of completeness and of good order, I am relinquishing the honorary degree which the University has bestowed on me last 26th March," Pangilinan said.

He closed the letter with the hope "that the subject controversy develops closure soon."

'Bruised and battered'

Asked by reporters on how he is doing after the scandal, Pangilinan said he was feeling "bruised" and "battered."

Asked if his speechwriters had been fired, he said that they should just be "left alone."

Pangilinan earlier tendered his resignation as chairman of the 15-man board, which unanimously declined it. (Read: Ateneo board rejects MVP resignation). They said Pangilinan had already acknowledged responsibility and had issued an apology.

The board decision was applauded and criticized. The graduating class, Batch 2010, issued a statement agreeing with the board's decision because Pangilinan is "very much valued by the Ateneo community."

A business ethics professor from Canada shared that Ateneo has not not demonstrated a moral high ground in how it handled the plagiarism issue. York University professor Andrew Crane said plagiarism is cheating.

On Thursday, some 40 members of the faculty, administration and staff of the school issued a strongly worded statement. They said, “Accepting Mr. Pangilinan’s offer to retire would have allowed him and the University to move on from this unfortunate incident. Mr. Pangilinan’s offer to retire was an honorable act. Not accepting Mr. Pangilinan’s offer to retire dishonors that action.”

They added that Pangilinan will not be a lesser person if the board accepted his offer to resign from his official duties in the school. With reports from Sol Aragones, ABS-CBN News