UP profs, alumni in Marcos Jr. Cabinet amid university’s red-tagged history

May 27, 2022 - 3:32 PM
UP End the Sem Protest
Members of the University of the Philippines community protest for the end of semester and to demand accountability from the Duterte administration amid its response to recent natural calamities in this photo uploaded on Facebook on Nov. 17, 2020. (Photo from UP Office of the Student Regent via Facebook)

Alfredo Pascual, former president of the University of the Philippines, and other UP figures are set to serve in the Cabinet of the coming Marcos administration.

Ironically, the national government and its supporters often associate UP students with the communist rebellion without proof.

This was the observation of former party-list representative Teddy Casiño and other pundits on social media.

Orly Putong, a researcher and columnist, described on Facebook such appointments as proof of UP’s “inherent contradiction.”

He said that UP has both produced the “worst bureaucrats” and the most progressive figures in Philippine history.

Below are the names of the incoming Marcos administration’s Cabinet secretaries who either graduated from the country’s premier state university or have served as a professor there.

  • Alfredo Pascual, incoming Department of Trade and Industry secretary

He served as the 20th UP president for 2011-2017. Pascual also earned his Bachelor of Science Major in Chemistry and his master of business administration from the university.

  • Arsenio Balisacan, incoming National Economic and Development Authority chief

Balisacan served as a dean and a professor at the UP School of Economics.

He also earned his Bachelor of Science degree at the Mariano State University and his Master of Science degree in agriculture economics from UP Los Baños.

  • Benjamin Diokno incoming Department of Finance secretary

Diokno, the sitting governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, was a former economics professor at UP.

He also earned his college degree in public administration, and his master’s degree in public administration and in economics from UP-Diliman.

  • Trixie Cruz-Angeles, incoming Presidential Communications Operations Office chief

Cruz-Angeles, currently maintains a vlog called “Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan,” finished her law degree and her master’s degree in UP.

The rest of the proposed Cabinet members are the following:

  • Sara Duterte-Carpio, vice president-elect, as education secretary
  • Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. as interior secretary
  • Vic Rodriguez as executive secretary
  • Rep. Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla as justice secretary
  • Bienvenido Laguesma as labor secretary
  • Susan “Toots” Ople as migrant workers secretary
  • Manny Bonoan as public works and highways secretary
  • Antonio Lagdameo Jr., special assistant to the president

On UP’s red-tagged history

UP has had a culture of activism, partly borne from its emphasis on critical thinking and patriotism.

Members of the UP community have been vocal of their views on the government’s policies, decisions and lack of response to national and social issues.

Their activism, however, did not sit well with President Rodrigo Duterte, his allies and supporters.

They have constantly accused UP and its students of having ties with the communist rebellion despite the lack of proof for it.

Duterte even threatened to defund UP and kick out its students in his past national addresses.

In 2021, the Department of National Defense terminated the 1989 UP-DND accord that prohibits state forces from entering campuses except when university officials allowed them, in hot pursuit or in other similar emergencies.

The DND alleged without evidence that some UP students were communist rebels and that the university grounds became recruitment grounds of the Community Party of the Philippines.

RELATED: Throwback to ’70s: Diliman Commune remembered as UP-DND accord gets scrapped 

UP has also stood up against Duterte when he allowed the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in November 2016.

Faculty members of the UP Department of Political Science joined the solidarity of outrage against such a decision.

“We view such an action as deceitful and malicious, remembering that in the same light, Marcos insidiously altered and abused the formal democratic institutions of the Republic in order to extend and intensify his grasp of political power at the expense of the Filipino nation,” they said in a statement.