MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - The Board of Regents (BOR) of the University of the Philippines (UP) on Tuesday elected lawyer Danilo Concepcion as the 21st president of the country's premiere state university.
Concepcion, current dean of the UP College of Law, will assume office in February 2017, replacing Dr. Alfredo E. Pascual.
The UP president has a term of 6 years.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News after the voting, Concepcion said becoming UP president was "not really" something he had always wanted, but added he "feels so challenged because UP is a big institution."
He vowed "continuity of the programs of the former president (Pascual) and further enhancement" of these initiatives.
When asked about Malacanang's influence in the selection, he said: "I don't know (anything) about it."
BOR co-chair Patricia Licuanan told ABS-CBN News that the Regents tried to get a consensus choice, but "in the end, we had to vote."
Asked why Concepcion won, she said "it seems he is also from what we hear a very good manager, has great people skills, he handles people on the ground, so anyway, I think it was very clear he had the popular vote in the campus."
Licuanan, also chair of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), said outgoing President Pascual "did an excellent job and I'm sure Danicon (Danny Concepcion) will bring it to higher heights...the feeling is good."
The UP Board of Regents, the highest decision-making body of the state university, elected Concepcion from a pool of six nominees.
The others were:
- J. Prospero E. De Vera III,
- Gisela Concepcion,
- Rowena Cristina Guevara,
- Benito Pacheco,
- Caesar Saloma.
Four of 10 original nominees were disqualified from the selection process due to age limit. They were incumbent UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan, Consolacion Alaras, Orlando Mercado and Roger Posadas.
These four would not have been able to serve the full term of 6 years before reaching the age 70. This was one of the minimum requirements set by the BOR.
President Rodrigo Duterte had appointed 2 new members of the Board of Regents in time for the selection of the new UP president, according to a report by the Philippine Collegian.
Lawyers Frederick Mikhail Farolan and Angelo Jimenez replaced Magdaleno Albarracin and Georgina Encanto, who were both appointees of former President Benigno Aquino III to the board.
Asked about the alleged intervention by the Palace in the voting, Licuanan said the "Malacanang-appointed regents behaved very professionally."
On whether the new Palace appointees were pushing for a certain candidate, she said, "No they just expressed their own, that's the way we did it. We expressed our own."
She declined to reveal how the regents voted, saying "We have sworn to secrecy."
Aside from Pascual, Licuanan and the 2 new appointees of Malacanang, other members of the BOR are:
- Senator Bam Aquino, Chairperson, Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture;
- Rep. Ann Hofer, chairperson, House Committee on Higher and Technical Education;
- Philip Padilla, Faculty Regent;
- Ramon Maronilla, Alumni Regent
- Raoul Manuel, Student Regent
- Alexis Mejjia, Staff Regent;
- Lilian de las Llagas, Secretary of the University and the Board of Regents.
Concepcion was a corporate law practitioner and a former associate commissioner of the Security and Exchange Commission.
He has a regular legal advice program on DZMM, Usapang de Campanilla.
Concepcion earned his agricultural engineering degree from the De La Salle-Araneta University and his law degree from UP. He obtained his Masters of Law degree from the University of London.
Concepcion served as president of the De La Salle-Araneta University from 2000 to 2002.
In his vision statement for UP, Concepcion said UP should embrace its role as a public service university that "serves its various constituencies with compassion."
He said UP can "engender compassion in its culture" through several ways:
"First, the university's academic thrust should reflect its concern for the welfare of its primary constituency - the nation;
"Second, UP's admission and financial aid system should respond to the needs of all deserving students;
"Third, UP should endeavor to deliver efficient and effective services to its constituency within the campus and extend meaningful support to all its personnel;
"Fourth, as its contribution to prudent management of public resources, UP should conceive of creative ways to boost its income without abandoning the campaign for increased government subsidy;
"Fifth, UP should contribute to national development."
He concluded by saying: "Honor and excellence with compassion should be the next UP president's clarion call to encourage the UP community in serving the Filipino people."