FORMER UST Rector Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. has defended the government service award given by the UST Alumni Association to Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux “Mocha” Uson, saying an “award” was not the same as a “reward.”
De la Rosa, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas on the feast day of the University’s patron saint, said the source and origin of honor is the person who bestows it, not the person who receives it — “honor est in honorante” in Latin.
“The best that the recipient can do, as a way of thanking the donor, is to make oneself deserving of the award. If not, the recipient actually dishonors the one who granted it,” he wrote in his Manila Bulletin column on Jan. 28.
READ: Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P.’s column at the Manila Bulletin: Awards are not rewards
De la Rosa’s remarks echoed resigned UST Alumni Association president Henry Tenedero’s statement, that the award was given to inspire the recipient to live the Thomasian core values in public service.
De la Rosa, a former Varsitarian Witness (Religion) editor, expressed disappointment over alumni who professed “love” for UST in criticizing Uson’s award, but did not defend the University in previous controversies it had faced.
“If one reads their impassioned statements and comments, however, they seem motivated more by their rabid hatred of Mocha than by their love for UST. [F]or indeed, how many of these ‘lovers of UST’ raised their voices when UST was openly vilified and maligned after it figured in earlier controversies? [M]any of those who claim to be die-hard Thomasian alumni have practically disavowed their connection with it, not even visiting or participating in alumni reunions or university affairs,” he said.
Uson, a UST medical technology graduate, received the government service award during the UST Alumni Association’s homecoming last Jan. 21, and instantly drew flak from the Thomasian community.
On Jan. 24, Uson returned her “Thomasian Alumni in Government Service” award. Tenedero resigned following the furor over the award.
Other recipients included Sen. Joel Villanueva, Health Secretary Francisco Duque II, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin (who also returned his award) and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. L.O.G.