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‘Why?’ Netizens baffled over Mocha Uson’s UST alumni award

/ 10:52 PM January 21, 2018

Published: 6:36 p.m., Jan. 21, 2018 | Updated: 10:52 p.m., Jan. 21, 2018

Netizens were quick to criticize the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association Inc. (UST AAI) after it gave Mocha Uson the Thomasian Alumni Award for Government Service on Sunday.

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A picture of the ceremony was posted by the Varsitarian, UST’s official student publication, on Facebook after the event.

It showed Uson, assistant secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office and avid supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, holding a plaque and posing with UST AAI officials led by their president, Henry Tenedero.

READ: Mocha Uson receives UST alumni award for government service

The photo quickly became viral, earning more than 1,000 reactions, over 700 shares and nearly 500 comments in just an hour.

‘Kadiri’

In the comments section, Facebook users, some of them UST graduates, expressed outrage over the alumni association’s decision to cite Uson for her work in government.

Facebook user Joy S.J. Marcial and Karlo Gino Magno called the award “Kadiri (gross)” while Abet So-Meniado called it “disgusting.”

“Shame shame shame USTe!!!!! KADIRI!!!!!! Not a proud Thomasian right now,” Marcial wrote.

“UST Alumni Assoc. kadiri kayo. Ito lang yata yong time na kinahiya kong Thomasian ako (This is the only time I’m ashamed to be a Thomasian),” Magno said.

READ: UST student council ‘strongly denounces’ Mocha Uson’s alumni award

Another Facebook user, Gina Oliveros Galang, commented: “What were the qualifications to be awarded like this? Did she pass the civil service exam? What did she do to uplift the name of the institution and its alumni?”

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Migo Villa echoed Galang’s sentiments, saying: “The Varsitarian pa-follow up kung ano naging criteria nito (Please follow-up what the criteria were). As an alumnus, I deserve to know why,” he said.

The UST Central Student Council immediately denounced the awarding, saying Uson is “known to utilize her following to initiate blatant personal attacks against her critics and the government’s, including students and members of the press, all under the guise of fake nationalism and freedom of speech.”

It said Uson “does not, in any way, embody the ideals of a real Thomasian.”

Mocking UST, Facebook user Brent Vergara said: “I guess all we have to do is to say if you work in the government [and] ‘P*t*ng *na mo Lenie’ (sic) in a live radio and TV broadcast, pwede na tayo ma awardan (then you can be awarded as) outstanding alumni. Bravo UST. Middle finger salute to you.”

Gerald Oscillada asked the public to stop donating to UST’s alumni association, while Michael Mutuc said his alumni ID “suddenly found its way to the trash bin.”

‘Not a special award’

In a phone interview, Varsitarian’s news editor and journalism student Maria Crisanta Paloma told Inquirer that the award was first of its kind.

“The event was originally a grand alumni homecoming, not an awarding ceremony,” Paloma said, adding that an annual homecoming is set every January.

This year’s event was held at the university’s alumni building at 9 a.m. No one expected Uson to attend. She stayed there for about an hour.

“Nagulat kami dumating si Mocha,” she said.

[We were surprised Mocha came.]

Uson, according to Paloma, was not the lone recipient. Other UST alumni who are currently in the government, like Senator Joel Villanueva and Senate Secretary Lutgardo Barbo, were also recognized.

“It’s not a special award for Mocha,” Paloma said.

As to the criteria for selecting the recipients, Paloma said: “There’s none.”

“There’s no criteria. Sila-sila lang po namili,” Paloma said.

[They just choose.]

It’s also not clear who chose the awardees and who thought of including an awarding ceremony in the homecoming.

“We cover it every year. But this is the first time na nagbigay sila ng ganyang award [that they’re given an award like that],” Paloma said. /je /atm

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