In September 2012, businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan ended his long-term relationship with his alma mater, Ateneo de Manila University, due to differences on key issues.
In a letter to Ateneo president Jett Villarin, S.J., dated Sept. 21, 2012, the telecommunications tycoon said the university’s views on the issues of mining and the reproductive health bill were “irreconcilable” with those of his business as well as “more importantly, my conviction as a Filipino.”
“And in the context of two other gruesome incidents (i.e., plagiarism and the first mining blowup) in the recent past, I believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest, and to say that I’d look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally,” said Pangilinan, whose substantial donations to the university helped its basketball team win several University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) cage crowns as well as put up several new buildings on its campus.
The businessman resigned his chairmanship of the Ateneo board of trustees in 2010 over a plagiarized speech that he delivered to the graduating class that year.
Shortly after his move to sever ties with the university, Rev. Fr. Bienvenido F. Nebres, a former Ateneo president, resigned as an independent director for the Philippine Long Distance Co. (PLDT), which Pangilinan chairs.
On the other hand, Norman Black, then head coach of the Ateneo Blue Eagles and a PLDT employee, offered to resign from his post in the university, saying that “he felt obligated to do the same,” but Pangilinan rejected the offer.
“Despite his differences with the school, he feels the team shouldn’t suffer,” said Black, who went on to lead the Blue Eagles to its fifth-straight UAAP crown since 2008.
Even before the season, Black already announced that he was calling the shots for the Eagles for the last time before moving back to the pro league as head coach of Talk ’N Text.
Former Philippine Basketball Association mentor Bo Perasol was set to take over Black as the Eagles’ head coach. However, news reports surfaced that Perasol was set to move to the University of the Philippines (UP) instead, after Pangilinan, who had a hand in the coach’s recruitment, shifted his patronage from the Eagles to the Maroons.
At the golden anniversary celebration of the Alpha Sigma Fraternity last Oct. 10, Pangilinan made the announcement that he was supporting UP and initially pledged P5 million to the university.
While he never said outright that he was helping the UP Maroons, there were speculations that he was making a commitment to its basketball team, in the same way that he had made a commitment to the Blue Eagles. Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives