Sunday, October 02, 2005

The Making of Truths and Other Concoctions

A response to the attacks on the recent selection of the new dean

Wrong, all wrong.

Last September 25, a news article was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, indicating that Dean Salvador Carlota was selected to head the University of the Philippines College of Law amidst suspicious circumstances. The article stated that Dean Raul Pangalangan was "booted out," and that Dean Carlota was chosen, because of their respective political inclinations. The article further stated that the UP Board of Regents "set aside" the results of a supposed straw vote conducted among the faculty, and "appointed" Carlota. This was followed by an editorial on September 27, ascribing to the BOR malicious motives in their choice of dean and reducing the qualifications of the respective candidates to the political fates of their supposed patrons.

The misinformation has caught the attention of the rest of the country, and has caused worry among those who have a stake in the future of the college. The attacks have smeared not only the images of the persons involved, but also the integrity of UP and its processes. The bitterness is threatening to disturb an otherwise meaningful transition to change.

If only the allegations were true. Dean Pangalangan was not booted out, his term merely expired. He was not replaced, a successor to his office was simply chosen. The media, of all people, should get their facts straight before coming out with any article because their task involves making the truths of the day. If the difference between removal and expiration of term is not yet clear by now to the Inquirer or their supposed secret sources, we will gladly come forward and explain it to them.

We are not aware of the reasons that impelled the members of the Board of regents to vote for Carlota as dean, but we are certain that the Rules on the Selection of Deans and Heads of Other Departments and Institutes (approved on the 1182nd Meeting of the BOR on May 27, 2004) make it clear that a dean or other head of a department or institute is not allowed to serve for more than two consecutive terms, save for extremely exceptional cases. During their 1198th meeting on July 28, 2005, the BOR has made it clear that they would strictly observe this provision. It was, therefore, clear from the start that Dean Pangalangan needed extraordinary circumstances to win a third term.

We are not aware of any straw votes that was conducted among the faculty, but if there was ever any, it is clear in the provisions of the general rules for selection and the particular rules adopted for this selection that these have no bearing since the dean was to be elected by the BOR. An open nominations process was adopted by the faculty and approved by the administration, in which anyone and everyone who had a stake in the future of the college may nominate his or her choice for dean. From among these nominees, the Chancellor of UP Diliman was to submit his recommendations to the regents, who were to elect their choice. This was also the issue in the selection of dean in 1999, when Prof. Raul Pangalangan was chosen over Prof. Raphael Lotilla, who was the nominee of choice of the faculty.

We are not in a position to defend the wisdom of the choice of the BOR, but we defer to the legitimate results of a valid selection process.

In light of the foregoing, we, the students of the University of the Philippines College of Law, hereby strongly denounce the irresponsible journalism that made possible the publication of these baseless claims being peddled by scheming parties who have nothing in mind but personal gain. We challenge these parties to stop rumor-mongering in the dark, and instead come out openly with solid support for their allegations. Ultimately, these controversies demean not only the persons involved, but also the institution that represents the most cherished of our ideals.

Those who insult Dean Carlota are also insulting us. Let it be known that we fully support our dean, and that we are standing up in the name of truth, honesty, and justice.


Blogger riche||e said...

jill dear - is this the edited and approved version released by the LSG na? because there was a draft going around blocks for approval late last week.

7:06 PM  
Blogger jillsabs said...

yup. this is the edited version. the first one was, um, spicier :p

9:12 AM  

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