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Contrary to the statements issued by some members of the UP Board of Regents, an honorary degree in the University of the Philippines or any university in the world for that matter is not given out of tradition or "custom".

The Latin term "honoris causa" is usually conferred as a way of honoring a distinguished visitor's contributions to a specific field or to society in general.

Being elected President does not merit a degree "honoris causa" and if it has been perceived as traditional, it is because the President has done something remarkable before being accorded such honor.

In the case of his predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, it was his anti-corruption platform, push for the Reproductive Health Law (he said he would rather be ex-communicated than give up the bill) and his efforts to compensate the victims of Martial Law that merited the conferment of the degree. Unlike Digong's predicament, there was little or no debate on whether he deserves it or not. THE DEGREE IS CONFERRED/AWARDED/GIVEN. IF ANYONE NEEDS TO BE DEFENDED TO DESERVE SUCH HONOR, THEN WHY BOTHER?

For the record, all Philippine Presidents except Gloria Macapagal Arroyo have been offered to be conferred honorary titles by the state university. It was impossible for President Emilio Aguinaldo whose term preceded the creation of the university. President Joseph Estrada refused to receive the title inside the university for security reasons (Randy David). Arrangements were made for the title to be conferred in Malacanang but events prior to the EDSA II have hindered that possibility.

In her entire nine years in office, the university made a conscious snub of its alumna and former member of the faculty in deciding not to grant an honorary doctorate to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Why? Because she cheated in the elections!

Digong Duterte who stands for everything that UP is not--the alma mater of several martial law heroes and survivors, where honor is prized as much as excellence--should not be awarded any degree, especially one that is honoris causa. There is no honor in lying, in being a coward, and belittling human rights.

These accusations are not merely questions of political beliefs (which we can understand) but of his character. What would the future iskolar ng bayan think of our generation if we let someone like Digong Duterte, a person who was almost kicked out of law school (according to Rene Saguisag), easily get a UP degree? Do we tell them because it was out of "tradition"? What would you tell them if they asked "Can't anyone in from the Board of Regents or from the University of the Philippines stand against tradition?"

As an alumnus of the University of the Philippines, I am personally and impersonally against the award of any degree honoris causa on a liar, a thief, a killer, and a misogynist. He should not be honored but be ousted by all Iskolars ng Bayan. I reject with all the hard earned 3s and 5s of all iskolars ng bayan against this political accommodation. CHIZ ESCUDERO, please spare us your crooked logic and sycophancy!

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