Oppose Roman’s undemocratic governance!
Oppose Malacanang intervention in decision-making in
the University of the Philippines!
Uphold democratic representation in the university, appointments based on
merit and the principles of accountability and transparency in decision
Statement of the UP Democratization Movement, March 3,
Barely two years after the U.P. Centennial Celebration, the Roman
Administration is eroding the cherished valutes of democratic
representation, appointments based on merit and the principles of
accountability and transparency in decision-making in the University of
President Emerlinda Roman plays the leading role in the weakening of
democratic governance in the university as indicated in her recent
actuations and decisions during the following crucial moments: the Student
Regent’s Disqualification, the deliberations on the expired terms of the
Malacanang-appointed acting Regents, the removal of PGH Director Jose
Gonzales, the UP Mindanao chancellorship, her denial of the appeal for
tenure of Prof. Sarah Raymundo, her continuing inaction on the appeal of
UP Los Banos faculty and students to hold in abeyance the full-scale
implementation of a policy requiring ALL general education, foundation and
legislated courses to be taught in large class mode starting June 2010.
Sec. 3 (h) of the U.P. Charter stipulates that the University “shall
provide democratic governance based on collegiality, representation,
accountability, transparency, and active participation of its
constituents….”. Pres. Roman is reneging on this responsibility, is
twisting the democratic processes, and is leading the maneuvers for the
adoption and implementation of decisions detrimental to the interest of
the UP constituents.
For the first time in UP's 100-year history, students were stripped of
their representation from the UP Board of Regents (BOR) on the basis of a
technicality rather than on failure to meet the academic requirements of
For the first time in UP's 100-year history, three regents overstayed
their temporary designations to the BOR which lapsed in 2009; yet they
remain regular members of the Board.
For the first time in UP's 100-year history, the appointment of a
University official was revoked without due cause. The sitting UP-PGH
director was removed from his post even though he has been sworn into
office, has occupied that office for over a month and is protected by
Civil Service rules on tenure.
For the first time in UP's 100-year history, all General Education,
Foundation and Legislated courses will be transformed into large class (as
large as 160 to 350) mode at UP Los Banos.
President Roman is turning the BOR into a highly politicized body by
initiating the attack to remove the Student Regent, by conspiring to
reverse a BOR selection of the PGH Director that she did not want, by
acting as the President only of some segments of the university instead of
the whole university. She is demonstrating all the weaknesses of her
appointing authority, which is to divide and confuse instead of leading
and governing. The crisis of the University is really a gross failure of
executive leadership of President Roman.
Pres. Roman has to answer for her leading role in the erosion and
weakening of democratic representation, democratic processes and
accountability in the University through maneuvers that reek of double
standard, the selective use of legal justifications to reward persons
loyal to her and to exclude perceived opponents to her policies and her
administration. We call on the faculty, students, REPS and staff of the
University of the Philippines to oppose the undemocratic moves of the
The UP Democratization Movement forwards the following calls:
Ensure student representation in the Board of Regents. Grant the appeal of
the Student Regent for residency!
Recognize Dr. Jose Gonzales the duly appointed UP PGH director from
January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012 in accordance with his December 28,
2009 original appointment!
Oppose Roman’s undemocratic governance! Oppose Malacanang intervention in
decision-making in the University of the Philippines!
Uphold democratic representation in the university, appointments based on
merit and the principles of accountability and transparency in decision
UP Issues website:
Philippine Daily Inqiuirer
Passion For Reason
unseating of UP PGH director
By Raul Pangalangan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:39:00 03/04/2010
I AVOID writing about faculty
intramurals in the University of the Philippines, preferring to talk
instead about the more benign politics of murders, massacres and wars.
However, the recent unceremonious ouster of a sitting hospital director
smacks too much of Malacañang-style politics that writing about it, come
to think of it, is just like writing about President Macapagal-Arroyo.
On Dec. 18, 2009, the university’s Board of Regents appointed Dr. Jose
Gonzalez as the new director of the UP Philippine General Hospital. I do
not know Gonzalez, have never met him, have never spoken to him. I also do
not claim to evaluate his qualifications or platform. I write solely about
the sheer brazenness of his ouster.
The university is governed by the 11-member BOR, consisting of two
co-chairs (the Commission on Higher Education chair and the UP president),
two seats for Congress (one each from the House and Senate), four organic
members each chosen respectively by the faculty, students, staff and
alumni (“organic” in the Gramscian sense), and three non-organic members
or as the Philippine Collegian loves to call them, “the Malacañang
appointees” (a four-letter word in Diliman’s lexicon, as you can imagine).
Gonzalez won by a 5-4 vote (should be 6-5). He got the vote of all the
four organic regents plus the tie-breaker by the CHEd chair.
On Jan. 4, 2010, the first working day after the long Christmas holidays,
the BOR officially announced Gonzalez’s appointment. This is where the
story starts to get exciting. The next day, at around noon, UP president
Emerlinda Roman announced that one of the non-organic regents, former
Supreme Court Justice Abraham Sarmiento, had filed a protest letter to
strike out the vote of the student regent, Charisse Bañez, on the ground
that she did not enroll for the second semester. On that basis, Roman
appointed an officer-in-charge for PGH, which provoked opposition. On Jan.
7, the long-delayed formal appointment of Gonzalez as PGH director was
finally released and on that same day, he took his oath.
In its January meeting, the BOR upheld Sarmiento’s motion to declare the
seat of the student regent vacant and to nullify her vote in the earlier
decisions. The organic regents walked out: faculty regent professor Judy
Taguiwalo, staff regent Clodualdo Cabrera, and Charisse. Alumni regent
Alfredo Pascual, president of the UP Alumni Association, did not
participate in the vote.
In its February meeting, the BOR nullified the appointment of Gonzalez and
elected Dr. Rolando Domingo as the new PGH director.
To start with, why the tangled legal
attempts to block Gonzalez? Why try to appoint an OIC when there was no
vacancy? How can the vote of a collegial body be set aside without a
collegial decision, and on the basis of a letter by one regent? Is there
such a thing as a super-regent whose solitary vote overrides those of his
Gonzalez is entitled to hold office
for the duration of his term. In the archaic language of the law of public
officers, the “termination of official relations” occurs only upon death
or disability, retirement, resignation, expiry of term of office,
abandonment, abolition of office, recall or removal for cause. Not a
single ground is present in this case.
The entire ouster of Gonzalez was
actually carried out by first ousting yet another person, Charisse Bañez.
Indeed Charisse wasn’t enrolled, but there are two important issues here.
One, when her vote was counted in favor of Gonzalez on Dec. 18, the BOR
fully debated her enrollment issue (even asked her to step out then) and
decided that she could vote. I recall the joke during martial law. Marcos
was complaining: Filipinos are so demanding—I already let them vote, now
they want their votes to be counted! The BOR must respect its own
decisions, and not reverse it only after they discovered that Charisse
voted for Gonzalez.
Two, Charisse has a pending application for residency as a student, which
is routinely approved for others but which has been kept hanging for
Charisse who, not surprisingly, has been harassed by a series of
disciplinary cases filed for her activist work. Again, I do not know where
she stands ideologically—and I have my own criticisms of the dogmatic and
doctrinaire—but the students have chosen her as their regent and the
school administration cannot frustrate the students’ choice by harassing
her with disciplinary cases.
Irony of ironies, it now turns out that the three Malacañang appointees
all have expired appointments. President Arroyo appointed them merely as
“Acting Member, Board of Regents.” However, the Administrative Code,
Executive Order 292, provides that “in no case shall a temporary
designation exceed one year.” All three had exceeded one year. Sarmiento
himself was appointed on Sept. 29, 2008. They were all essentially
impostors on Dec. 18, trying to oust the student regent who enjoyed an
The BOR has pooh-poohed that argument, saying that “acting” is different
from “temporary.” In what way, I ask? That is a cockamamie legal
distinction. I ask the BOR: What is the difference between an “acting”
regent and a “temporary” regent? The “acting” designation is as temporary
as it gets.
What I have chronicled here is familiar to us by now: the Machiavellian
manipulation of technicalities to justify just about anything and to
maneuver events to get precisely the desired result. It is a mindset, a
way of life, that I identify with the Arroyo administration, and I am
saddened when I see it practiced in a university that has become a part of
my life since I entered as a freshman 36 years ago.
By Rafael Castillo, MD
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:11:00 03/05/2010
IT APPEARS THAT IF YOU’RE A healthcare professional who is idealistic and
would not compromise on your commitment to serve, you have to brace
yourself for a lot of disappointments. Recent events are demotivating a
lot who fall under this category and many are wondering why high
government officials seem to be looking the other direction, utterly
unmindful of what’s going on.
With the questionable arrest and treatment of the 43 health workers in
Morong still eroding the morale of many service-oriented healthcare
professionals, another controversy is rocking the University of the
Philippines- Philippine General Hospital Medical Center, which is the
country’s premier government hospital where hundreds of thousands of poor
patients from all corners of the country seek refuge for their various
health needs. Unlike other government hospitals which are under the
Department of Health, PGH is under the UP system.
Dr. Jose Gonzales, newly installed UP-PGH director— having been sworn to
office twice by two authorized officials of the UP system—has barely
warmed his seat when he was unceremoniously booted out last week by the
same UP Board of Regents (BOR) that elected him as the new hospital
director in its resolution of Dec. 18, 2009. The appointment is for a term
of three years. He assumed his new post Jan. 4, 2010 and was given his
walking papers seven weeks later.
“What they did to me is unjust, illegal and oppressive,” says Dr.
Gonzales, more popularly known as Dr. Joegon. He is one of the country’s
highly respected heart surgeons. He has set up the open-heart programs of
several tertiary hospitals in Metro Manila, and could have certainly
earned bigger bucks in these fancy medical centers catering to the rich.
But he decided to concentrate his practice at UP-PGH where he can render
service not only to those who can afford expensive heart surgeries, but
also to those who cannot afford these life-saving heart interventions. He
has offered his services for free for many poor patients.
Passion for work
Probably because of his passion for his work which frequently requires
long hours inside the operating rooms and even longer hours at the bedside
monitoring critically-ill patients, Joegon has remained a bachelor.
Despite his stature, he has lived simply and shares a good deal of his
income as a heart surgeon sending deserving students to medical school,
and personally funding other charitable undertakings. Once I commended him
for these works and he seemed astonished and asked me how I came to know
of them. “I don’t tell people these things I’m doing,” he said. “Good
works have wings,” I answered. “And one way or the other, they get
Many doctors and employees of the UP-PGH are crying foul over the hasty
and unjust ouster of Joegon. Earlier this week, they staged a rally at the
hospital grounds to show their indignation. The UP College of Medicine
Council composed of the teaching faculty, has also thrown its support for
Joegon. I’ve received numerous text messages from doctor-friends who are
all disappointed at the decision of the UP BOR, reversing their previous
resolution electing Joegon. They disregarded the resolution on the basis
of a technicality that one of the members of the BOR who gave the crucial
vote for Joegon—the student regent—is on study leave and should not be
allowed to vote. Why they allowed her to vote the first time around only
to rule two months later that she was not qualified to vote baffles the
simple mind like mine, and it definitely does not speak well of the UP
This tendency for flip-flop decision-making is unbecoming of such an
esteemed board of regents of a highly distinguished institution which the
UP system is. This can seriously undermine the credibility of the BOR.
Just like the Morong fiasco involving the unlawful arrest of 43 health
workers, this UP-PGH fiasco leaves another bitter taste in the mouth. The
UP-BOR could still redeem themselves. They can reconsider their decision
to boot out Joegon and give him due process. Technically, they have
already installed him as PGH director. Unless they can find due cause to
remove him for something he has done in the seven or so weeks that he has
discharged his function as director, they should uphold their resolution
of Dec. 18, 2009 electing Joegon.
If the UP BOR care for the millions of indigent patients who rely on PGH
for their health needs, they should set aside their egos and listen to the
clamor of the hospital employees, the PGH doctors and the teaching faculty
of the college. This controversial decision of the UP BOR is divisive and
might compromise the services of this premier institution. In the end, the
patients will be at the losing end.
As for Joegon, I think he knew all along that it would be a thankless job
but he was determined to make the sacrifice and accepted the job. He need
not worry though. No board, no matter how powerful it is, can put a good
UP student regent: I was allowed
to vote in PGH poll
By Maricar Cinco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:50:00 03/07/2010
SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA—The student regent whose vote is at the center of a
directorship row at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) insisted her
vote was valid and has filed a motion to stop the University of the
Philippines Board of Regents (BOR) from nullifying it.
UP student regent Charisse Bañez said that before the controversial
election of the PGH director on Dec. 18, the UP-BOR had deliberated and
voted on a motion of UP president Erlinda Roman to revoke her right to
vote on the ground that she was not a bona fide student of the state
Bañez, who was not enrolled this school year because she had completed her
academic requirements ahead of schedule and was awaiting graduation, said
the result of the election was 5-4 in favor of allowing her to vote until
the issue on her university “residency status” was resolved.
“They agreed to that and participated willingly in that election,” Bañez
said, referring to what she called the “Malacañang bloc” composed of Roman
and three other regents appointed by President Macapagal-Arroyo, who voted
against her right to vote.
In that board election, Dr. Jose Gonzales won by one vote over incumbent
hospital director Dr. Carmelo Alfiler to win the PGH directorship.
The century-old PGH is the teaching hospital of the UP College of
But on Feb. 25, the BOR decided that Bañez was ineligible to vote and
nullified the results of the Dec. 18 election. It called for a new
election which resulted in a 6-0 vote for Dr. Enrique Domingo, the
hospital’s deputy director for administration.
“It was surprising,” said Bañez,
adding that the BOR, on the motion of the “Malacañang bloc,” had removed
Domingo from the shortlist of nominees during the first election due to
“lack of tenure.”
“They were the ones who took him (Domingo) out (of the list) and now they
installed him as director. There is a power play going on inside the BOR,”
“They did not want Jogon (Dr. Jose Gonzales) because he was critical of
the P77-million faculty medical arts building,” she said.
It was also Bañez’s turn to question the validity of the votes of the
three Malacañang appointees: Their terms as “acting and not regular
regents” had already expired.
“They were appointed in 2008. Based on the administrative code of 1987,
temporary appointments made by GMA (Ms Arroyo) should not exceed one year.
And they (Malacañang appointees) had never mentioned this to us,” she
She said Roman later recommended a fixed term of two years for the
According to the BOR, Bañez, a senior student at UP Los Baños in Laguna,
had failed to file an application for residency for the second semester
and was therefore not a bona fide student.
Bañez countered that she did file her application forms for residency,
albeit a month late in December, because of her many activities as the
She said the UP administration was only using this technical matter as a
“lame excuse” to eject her from the board.
“There were two students at UPLB who filed their residencies as late as
Feb. 3 and 16 and their applications were accepted. How come they would
not process my papers? That is unfair,” she said.
RESOLUTION OF THE COLLEGE COUNCIL OF THE UP COLLEGE
OF MEDICINE ON THE APPOINTMENT OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE PHILIPPINE GENERAL
HOSPITAL UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES MANILA
Whereas the University of the Philippines Board of Regents in its 1252nd
meeting on December 18, 2009, appointed Dr. Jose Castillo Gonzales as
Director, Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines
Manila from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012;
Whereas Dr Jose Gonzales took his oath of office as Director of Philippine
General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila before the BOR
Chair on December 21, 2009 and before the UP Manila Chancellor on January
Whereas Dr. Jose Gonzales has already served as PGH director and has
performed responsibly since January 4, 2010 with honor , integrity and
Whereas under Civil Service Laws, Dr. Jose Gonzales can only be removed as
PGH Director for due cause;
Whereas the removal of Dr. Jose Gonzales as PGH Director is unjust and
arbitrary, he should therefore continue to perform his duties and
functions as Director of PGH for the welfare of the Filipino people;
Whereas the College Council of the UP College of Medicine upholds Academic
Freedom, human rights, due processes and the protection of its
constituents under the Civil Service Law;
We, the members of the College Council of the UP College of Medicine
resolve, as it is hereby resolved:
That we recognize and support Dr. Jose Gonzalez as the duly appointed UP
PGH director from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012 in accordance with
his original appointment.
Approved on the 2nd day of March 2010 at the Class 64 lecture room, UP
College of Medicine, 547 Pedro Gil St, Ermita, Manila.