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Mocha Uson returns award amid backlash from students, alumni

Mocha Uson returned her government service award through a representative on Wednesday while several alumni returned their awards from the Alumni Association in protest.

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Photo courtesy of Henry Tenedero

Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson has returned the award given by the Alumni Association following backlash from students and alumni.

Uson returned the award through a representative earlier this morning and was received by the association’s  Chairman Emeritus Robert Sy and Board Adviser Jack Castañeda.

“This is indeed a great act of humility and magnanimity on the part of Asec. Mocha,” resigned Alumni Association President Henry Tenedero said.

Uson revealed in a statement on her Facebook page that she had informed Tenedero of her intentions to return the award.

“Lingid sa kaalaman ng lahat bago pa po lumabas ang statement nila ay sinabi ko na po sa President ng UST Alumni Association Inc. na si Sir Henry Tenedero na akin na pong isasauli ang award,” Uson said.

Uson returned the award after Tenedero’s resignation last night amid heavy criticisms by the Thomasian community on the association’s actions (READ: Alumni Association prex resigns, Uson’s award not revoked).

Despite the controversy, the Alumni Association stood with their decision and decided not to rescind the award given to Uson.

Uson also slammed Thomasians for blowing up the issue as well as for supposedly “bullying” Tenedero and the Alumni Association (READ: CSC decries alumni award for Mocha Uson).

“Hindi ko lamang ito isinapubliko dahil sobrang nao-OA na ako sa ilang Thomasians sa pagpapalaki ng issue na ito. Marami pa pong mas mahahalagang bagay ang dapat pinag-uusapan kesa dito,” she added (READ: Student activists urge admin to denounce Mocha Uson’s alumni award).

Uson received the Thomasian Alumni for Government Service award during the University’s Grand Alumni Homecoming last Sunday, Jan. 21, which was given to individuals “instrumental as [c]atalyst[s] of [t]ransformational [c]hange towards an empowering nation-building.”

The only criteria for the award, however, is for an individual to be a graduate of the University and is currently a government official.

Uson graduated with a degree in Medical Technology in 1998 and entered the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery the year after, before she eventually dropped out during her second year to pursue a full-time show business career.

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She has served as a board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board from January last year until her appointment as assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office in May.

Alumni return awards in protest

Along with Uson, 19 other government officials received the award, including Sen. Joel Villanueva and Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin.

Villanueva, who sponsors a senate bill which seeks to punish online misinformation, did not return his award but said that he was saddened and offended by the association’s decision to recognize Uson.

“It’s supposed to be a celebration, it’s supposed to be inspirational to our students in UST,” the senator said.

Villarin has returned the award in protest, saying in a statement: “I refuse to buy into their recent justification for awarding Mocha Uson that one only needed to be a graduate of our Alma Mater, and be part of government.”

“If that were true, then all Thomasian civil servants should have also been given such an award… Indeed, she has corrupted the values that Thomasians hold dear,” he continued.

Other alumni have likewise returned awards from the Alumni Association.

Former health secretary Carmencita Reodica, who was conferred the Outstanding Thomasian Alumni Award in 1997, returned her trophy “for it has lost its meaning and significance.”

In an open letter posted on his Facebook profile, New York-based novelist and poet Bino Realuyo returned his UST High School 75th Founding Anniversary Award, which he received in 2003.

“The recent Thomasian Alumni Award recognition of Mocha Uson, a known propagandist and “purveyor of fake news” at a time when Freedom of the Press is under attack in the Philippines is an insult to all UST Alumni who believe in upholding one of the pillars of strong democracies—VERITAS,” Realuyo stated.

by Heather Marian Amoroso

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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

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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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