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Divina on disbarment raps: My conscience is clear

A senate committee report on the fatal hazing case of law freshman Horacio Castillo III recommended the disbarment of Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina and other Aegis Juris lawyers.

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Photo courtesy of Mong Pintolo/The Philippine Star.

Faculty of Civil Law Dean Nilo Divina emphasized that his conscience is clear on Wednesday, following the recommendation of a Senate panel for his disbarment, along with 18 other lawyers of the Aegis Juris Fraternity.

In a committee report on Tuesday, the Senate Committees on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Justice and Human Rights, led by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, has called on Divina to resign from his post as the least he can do to make up for the “injustice” done to hazing victim Horacio Castillo III’s family.

Castillo died during the hazing rites of the Aegis Juris fraternity (READ: UST law freshman found dead after frat hazing).

Divina is an alumnus of the said fraternity.

“My conscience is clear. I did not do anything wrong, illegal or unethical. I did all I could have done under the circumstances to prevent incidents of hazing from happening during my watch as Dean,” Divina’s statement read.

Divina had already dismissed calls to take a leave of absence from his post last October as investigations on the death of the law freshman were ongoing (READ: Civil Law dean rejects idea of stepping down amid Atio’s death probe).

The Senate report, posted in its official website, noted photos that showed Divina’s “active participation” during fraternity anniversaries and his “discretionary acts” before and after Castillo’s death refute his “never-ending claims of temporarily severing ties” with the fraternity.

Also, Divina expressed dismay over the committee’s questioning of his statements despite his assistance to the case.

“I understand that as a Dean who happens to also be a member of the Fraternity, all my actions, despite conscious efforts on my part to be totally impartial, will naturally be subjected to extraordinary scrutiny,” Divina said.

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“Nonetheless, I remain confident of vindication regardless of the accusations hurled or charges that have been filed or may still be filed,” he added.

Moreover, Divina stated that he would not allow the faults of some and the unfair accusations of the few to get in the way of fulfilling his job as a dean.

“I regret with all my heart what had happened to Atio but a wrong can not be rectified by another justice,” Divina said.

Divina, along 20 of his associates in DivinaLaw, is also facing disbarment raps from Patricia Bautista, the estranged wife of former Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista (READ: Comelec chair’s wife files disbarment case vs. Civil Law dean, 20 others).—A. Ortega

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Tourism senior is valedictorian of Batch 2018

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Photo by Earl Balce/TomasinoWeb

A student from the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management was named this year’s batch valedictorian during the 2018 UST Student Awards on Friday, May 18.

Travel Management senior Catherine Mondejar led this year’s recipients of the Rector’s Academic Award, the highest academic award given to students, after obtaining a general weighted average of 1.11.

“As students, we create our own masterpiece. We exert our efforts, use our knowledge, and show our out most dedicated to the task at hand and pursued for academic excellence,” Mondejar said in her speech at the ceremony held at the Quadricentennial Pavilion.

“The awards that we receive today were not handed to us on a silver platter. The road we travelled to reach this point was never easy. Our journey was rough and had many twists and turns. Challenges…ranging from trivial to serious matter, and yet these challenges molded us to be the best persons we are today,” she added.

Other recipients of the Rector Academic Award were Julius Ernhest Berame (Faculty of Philosophy), Bro. Jerone Geronimo, O.P. (Faculty of Sacred Theology), Rolter Lorenz Lee (Faculty of Pharmacy), Fermina Vergara (Faculty of Arts and Letters), Maria Kristina Cassandra Heukshorst (Faculty of Engineering), John Paul Combalicer (College of Education), Jacquelyn Marasigan (College of Science), Chrystelle Jean Fajardo (College of Architecture), Wan Ying Chen (College of Commerce and Business Administration), Denise Faith See (Conservatory of Music), Danielle Grace Tan (Faculty of Nursing), Edward Joseph Tañedo (College of Rehabilitation Sciences), Jelleine Joie Evangelista (College of Fine Arts and Design), Janela Love Nartates (Institute of Physical Education and Athletics), Lahaira Amy Reyes (College of Accountancy), and Bryan Matthew Reolope (Institute of Information and Computing Sciences).

Other Thomasians were also recognized for their leadership and excellence during the ceremony.

The Pope Leo XIII Community Development Award was given to students with outstanding involvements in community development activities. The recipients were Therese Anjhona Mhae Gorospe (Education), Maria Gieniv Valeriano (Nursing), Ma. Diana Kariza Maniti (Commerce and Business Administration), Nicholas Raphael Arcangel (Science), Hannah Mae Medes (Arts and Letters), and Christian Jonel Arnau (Pharmacy).

Thomasians who have led and organized activities that contributed to the welfare of the students were given the Quezon Leadership Award. The recipients were Christian Jonel Arnau (Pharmacy); Roland Roman Lim, Jr. (Engineering); Rafael Luis Lopez, Nicole Cruz, Ralph Gabriel Buella and I-Shan Kuo (Arts and Letters); and Michael Angelo Abad, Robin Renz Salvador, and Joel Joseph Arcamo (Commerce and Business Administration).

UST Red Cross Youth Council- Pharmacy Unit (Pharmacy), UST-ECO Tigers (Engineering), UST Golden Corps of Cadets, and UST Volunteers for UNICEF received Tradition of Excellence, the top honor for student groups that have garnered awards for five consecutive years.

Twenty-eight students and 16 student organizations were given the Benavides Outstanding Achievement Award, which is awarded to those whose performances in regional, national or international competitions, conferences or congresses signify the university’s commitment to excellence. – H.M. Amoroso

READ  DOJ indicts 10 Aegis Juris fratmen, drops Divina of charges

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UST improves in May 2018 civil eng’g boards

UST garnered a passing rate of 61.76 percent wherein 21 out of 34 civil engineering graduates made the cut.

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The University posted a higher passing rate in the May 2018 civil engineering licensure examinations.

UST garnered a passing rate of 61.76 percent wherein 21 out of 34 civil engineering graduates made the cut. This was an improvement from last year’s 44.74 percent where 17 out of 21 passed the exam.

De La Salle University – Manila was hailed the top performing school with a 88.14 percent passing rate where a total of 104 out of 118 exam takers passed.

Renz Rodney Fernandez from Western Mindanao State University led this batch of civil engineers with a 93.55-percent rating.

A total of 2,738 out of 7,599 takers passed the May 2018 Civil Engineering Licensure Exams, according to the Professional Regulation Commission.

A total of 6,998 civil engineering graduates took the licensure exams last year with 2,514 making it to the cut.

The examination was administered by the Board of Civil Engineering in the cities of Manila, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Lucena, Pagadian, Tacloban, Tuguegarao and Zamboanga.–H. M. Amoroso

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Thomasians protest Sereno ouster

(2nd UPDATE) In their official statement, the Central Student Council said that “Sereno’s removal as the Chief Justice is an attack on the independence of the judiciary” and urged Thomasians to “uphold the rule of law and due process.”

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Photo by Philip Jamilla/TomasinoWeb.

Progressive groups and students from the University wore blindfolds imitating Lady Justice as they protested along España on Friday to decry the ousting of Maria Lourdes Sereno from her post as Supreme Court (SC) chief justice.

The protesters were joined by Central Student Council (CSC) officers-elect Robert Dominic Gonzales and Jeanne Nicole Naval.

Gonzales told during the protest that the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno is unconstitutional.

“Ang makikita natin dito sa pagpapatalsik kay Chief Justice Sereno, ‘di sinusunod ang konstitusyon na meron tayo sa bansa. Paano pa ang ibang probisyon sa konstitusyong ito?” Gonzales asked.

Meanwhile, for Naval, the removal of Sereno from office is like “going back to the Marcos era.”

Nonetheless, she urged that “it’s high time for us to protect our nation, to protect our people.”

In their official statement, the CSC said that “Sereno’s removal as the Chief Justice is an attack on the independence of the judiciary” and urged Thomasians to “uphold the rule of law and due process.”

The Faculty of Civil Law Student Council, meanwhile, said that the issue is not merely about the ousting of Sereno but that it is “a bigger battle” for “true democracy and liberty.”

Student councils from the Senior High School Student, Alfredo M. Velayo – College of Accountancy, Faculty of Arts and Letters and College of Rehabilitation Sciences have similarly released statements supporting Sereno.

 

Sereno ouster an attack on women, democratic institutions

Justine Reyes of feminist organization UST Hiraya decried the ousting of Sereno as an attack on women, particularly those critical of the administration.

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“Mga kababaihang pinaglalaban ang ating mga karapatan, tulad nina CJ Sereno, Sister Fox, Gina Lopez. These are powerful women who know what they fight for. Sa kanila takot na takot ang ating administrasyon,” Reyes said.

Representatives from Anakbayan UST and League of Filipino Students UST further told that the Sereno ouster is merely the latest in a series of attacks on democratic institutions in the country under the Duterte regime.

Along with calls to uphold judiciary independence, the groups also protested for press freedom and demanded justice for slain priests Mark Ventura and Marcelito Paez, among other issues.

Sereno was removed from office yesterday morning after the SC en banc voted 8-6 in favor of the quo warranto petition, invalidating Sereno’s appointment as chief justice.

She was appointed by former President Benigno Aquino III.

She is the second chief justice to be removed from office after Renato Corona was ousted in 2012. This is, however, the first time that the SC ousted its own chief justice.

The petition has been slammed by various groups as a violation of constitutional processes and Sereno’s right to undergo an impeachment trial.

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