UST, FEU and SBU | Inquirer Opinion
With Due Respect


The University of Santo Tomas (UST) expelled eight law students who were found “guilty of violating the Code of Conduct and Discipline” by a committee of “six administrators and a representative from the Central Student Council” formed by Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, UST’s rector, to investigate the hazing death of law freshman Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.

Not enough. In reaction, Carmina Castillo, Atio’s mother, texted: “We thank UST … but they still need to answer a lot of questions like how about the faculty members … [who] knew about Atio’s death … they did not even call the police to report or at least surrender to the police the fraternity members.”

The victim’s mother has the right to be indignant and to expect UST to dig deeper into the liabilities of the Aegis Juris fraternity members. I am sure Father Dagohoy will pursue further actions. He knows how this incident may tarnish UST’s reputation as one of the “Big Four” universities in the country (the others being Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University and University of the Philippines-Diliman), per the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Quacquarelli Symonds (or QS) World University rankings.

Outside UST, two Senate committees recommended the disbarment of UST law dean Nilo Divina for alleged “mockery of the legal profession.” The Castillo parents accused him of “murder and violation of the antihazing law” and for taking part “in a cover-up of the incident.”


Divina denies the charges, saying they are “based on speculations,” pointing out “he has assisted in the investigations.” He is entitled to due process; so I will not, at this point, comment further, given that the Supreme Court is promptly attending to the disbarment case and the Department of Justice the criminal charges.

On a more pleasant note, on Feb. 19, UST conferred the degree of doctor of business administration (or DBA) on its distinguished chemical engineering alumnus, Tony Tan Caktiong, founder and president of Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC).

Caktiong credits his wife Grace and his gung-ho management team for helping make JFC the largest quick-service restaurant (QSR) in the country and in Asia, and one of the 10 largest in the world in terms of market capitalization with 10 brands (like Chow King, Mang Inasal, Red Ribbon, etc.) being sold in China, Asia, North and South America, Europe and the Middle East.

He envisions JFC to be the fifth largest QSR in the near future and the largest in the world eventually.


In the University Belt also, Far Eastern University (FEU) observed the death anniversary of its founder, Nicanor Reyes Sr., with the premier showing of “Be Brave” chronicling FEU’s history via the vivid recollection of his only living child, Lourdes Reyes-Montinola, the FEU chair until she was succeeded by her banker-son Aurelio Montinola III in 2013. More on this in the future.

San Beda University. This month is also historic for another University Belt veteran. San Beda College (SBC) was granted “university status” by the CHEd on Feb. 5. The SBC Alumni Association, through Dr. Joffre M. Alajar, requested me, as a longstanding honorary member of the San Beda Law Alumni Association, to write briefly my expectation from this elevated status. Here was my reply:


By its fruits, a tree is known.

Similarly, San Beda as a college is known to bear alumni who, today, are holders and wielders of privilege, prominence and possessions in our country—from the President to the legislative and judicial leaders to the best of entrepreneurs and thought molders, as well as to the harshest oppositors and bashers. And, as I wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Aug. 14, 2016, “the nation is safe in their hands as long as among them are the pros and contras, supporters and dissenters, admirers and critics.”

As San Beda rises from a distinguished college to a great university, I—as a humble and grateful honorary Bedan—expect its alumni to rise phenomenally from being mere wielders and critics of power, fame and fortune to being statesmen and heroes who will uplift our nation to new heights of peace and progress, of liberty and prosperity, united in prayer and work for the glory and exaltation of God Almighty. Alleluia!

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TAGS: Aegis Juris, Artemio V. Panganiban, fatal hazing, FEU, Horacio Castillo III, Nilo Divina, Tony Tan Caktiong, UST, With Due Respect

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