MANILA - The University of Santo Tomas disowned an award given to the school's alumna, Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson.
In a statement released Monday, UST said the UST Alumni Association Inc. is a corporation distinct and separate from the university, with its own board of trustees.
"The University of Santo Tomas takes pride in its graduates who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of expertise but the University wishes to clarify that the recognition given to Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux J. Uson came from the UST Alumni Association Inc. and not from the University," said UST.
UST also called on the Thomasians to be guided by their motto, "Truth in Charity" and to "remain steadfast in the pursuit of truth," a sentiment echoed by the university's student leaders.
Uson was given the Thomasian Alumni Award for Government Service on Sunday. The UST Alumni Associate 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.
Meanwhile, UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy told university publication The Varsitarian through text that he was not informed of the award given by Uson. The priest added that he was only invited to celebrate Mass at the alumni homecoming.
Uson earned a degree in medical technology from UST. She also attended medical school in the 400-year-old university before dropping out to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.
A die-hard supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte since the 2016 elections, Uson was appointed assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office in May 2017.
--report from Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News