UP regent under fire for suggesting violence vs Ateneo players
Students and alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP), including three senators, called on a member of its Board of Regents (BOR)—the highest policymaking body of the university—to resign after suggesting violence against basketball players of Ateneo de Manila University on social media.
Calling him a “disgrace to UP,” members of the community were incensed after BOR member Frederick Mikhail “Spocky” Farolan said three players of the Ateneo Blue Eagles would miss the second game of the UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) championship against the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday because of injury.
“Sayang hindi kumpleto ang players ng Ateneo sa Wednesday. Tatlo injured. Pili na kung sinu-sino mga ’yon,” Farolan said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
He has since deleted the post, saying “there was sarcasm in that comment, which may not have been immediately and easily perceived by some.”
Composite strike team
Farolan, a lawyer and former UP Vanguard corps commander, even suggested forming a “composite strike team of all UP fraternities” — which he called “a sign of solidarity” to target the three Ateneo players.
He said a brawl between all fraternities of UP and Ateneo could take place during the half-time break, calling it “old school suntukan” and “good old barbaric stupid ignorant machismic hand-to-hand violence.”
Tension and emotions heightened during Game 1 last Saturday after UP player Bright Akhuetie, this UAAP season’s most valuable player, temporarily left the game after he badly tweaked his left knee while battling for position with Ateneo rookie Angelo Kouame.
The game ended with Ateneo, the defending champion, drawing first blood from UP, 88-79, in the best of three finals.
The UP Maroons last won the championship in 1986.
Akhuetie was cleared of major injury and will be playing on Wednesday. Kouame has since apologized.
Former Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, who served as faculty regent in 2009-2010, called out Farolan’s post.
“We do not wish harm to anyone. There’s no place for this kind of joke in UP or elsewhere,” Taguiwalo said.
In a statement, UP president Danilo Concepcion distanced himself from Farolan’s post, saying “they do not represent the values of the university” but assured the public that he would “seriously” take up the matter with the BOR.
Three senators, who are all UP alumni, called for Farolan’s immediate resignation.
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Farolan’s views on social media were “totally unacceptable and a disgrace to UP.”
Pangilinan, who served as a BOR member twice — as student regent in 1986 and as chair of the Senate committee on education in 2003 — said Farolan should step down immediately for his statements.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III echoed his call.
“Parang nabigyan lang ng posisyon akala niya sino na siya,” he told reporters.
Sen. Nancy Binay said Farolan should resign “out of delicadeza and out of love for UP.”
President Rodrigo Duterte appointed Farolan to the 11-member BOR in October 2016.
Sen. Francis Escudero, a BOR member, said Farolan was just serving in a carryover capacity until reappointed or a replacement was named.
Farolan is supposed to serve for only two years under the UP Charter.
Escudero said the BOR was hoping the President would consider the position of the panel in deciding whether to reappoint Farolan.
But he said Farolan’s resignation was not discussed during the BOR meeting.
“Resignation is a voluntary act on the part of the official. We can’t force someone to do it,” he said.
Malacañang is leaving it to the state university to handle the controversy.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Farolan should be given the benefit of the doubt and a body should be created to look into the issue.
“Let him explain himself. That’s what we call due process and the rule of law,” Panelo said at a press briefing on Monday.
The BOR apparently did not heed his call.
In a strongly worded statement after its meeting on Monday, the BOR said “we disassociate ourselves as a board from regent Farolan’s statement and actions.”
“We view with extreme disapproval and strongly condemn violence in any form,” it added.
Citing its commitment to a higher standard of accountability for its members, the BOR said it withdrew the recommendation for the reappointment of Farolan.
He was also told not to make “further statements which could compromise the reputation and the goodwill of the university.”
The BOR also apologized to officials, staff and athletes of Ateneo and to the UP community for “any anxiety regent Farolan’s statements may have caused,” and for “dampening of the euphoria of UP reaching the UAAP Finals.”
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