MANILA - The University of Santo Tomas Central Student Council expressed dismay over the award given by the school's alumni association to Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson.
Citing UST's motto "truth in charity," the student leaders said Uson, who was given the Thomasian award for Government Service for her work under President Rodrigo Duterte's administration, "does not embody the ideals of a real Thomasian."
"And with all due respect, Ms. Esther Margaux 'Mocha' Uson does not deserve an award that was meant solely for outstanding Thomasian alumni," the UST-CSC said in a statement Sunday.
The UST Alumni Association Inc., meanwhile, stressed that the sole criteria are for the recipients to be a graduate of UST and to be in government service. It added that award was meant to "inspire and challenge" the recipients to lead the Thomasian core values in their duties.
Uson, who earned a degree in medical technology from UST, said in a Facebook post that the recognition was an honor and she dedicates to her mother and the public.
She also attended medical school in the 400-year-old university before dropping out to pursue a career in the entertainment industry as the leader of the all-female dance group Mocha Girls.
Uson, a die-hard supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte since the 2016 elections, was appointed assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office in May 2017.
Prior to this, she served as board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.