UNITED States-based medical alumni are worried over the sudden exit of three top University officials over the controversial plan to commercialize and expand the UST Hospital, but have appealed for calm amid difficult times for the University.

The UST Medical Alumni Association in America, one of the biggest donors to the hospital and the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery through a $3 million endowment fund, has pledged to continue support for indigent patients and “toward making our Alma Mater a school noted for academic excellence.”

In a message to members of the alumni association, Dr. Stella Evangelista, the group’s executive director, said the association was “unaffected directly by the leadership changes,” but added, “we are troubled by any problems encountered by the University.”

“I ask for your tolerance at this difficult time in our University’s history. (For now), let us remain steadfast in our loyalty to our Alma Mater and its missions,” she said.

The association’s president, Dr. F.C. Dante Gapultos, Jr., who relayed Evangelista’s message in a letter to all members, described the developments as “disturbing news.”

Evangelista said: “When the parents are in a state of unrest, the children feel a sense of dismay and unease. The current state of affairs gives the alumni such a feeling.”

On its website, the UST Medicine Class ‘67 Foundation USA, Inc. also said it would continue with donations to the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. “As I read the news item out of the Manila media, I am convinced that our (project) is the right thing to do for our alma mater,” said Dr. Cora Gemil, foundation president.

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‘Bypassed’

The Faculty Union of the University, meanwhile, said it resents having been “bypassed” on the resignations, which, it claimed, showed the “low regard” for the union.

“We were not given the chance (to speak) nor (be) notified as to why Fr. Arceo was removed,” said Gil Gamilla, union president. “What is the union, anyway? That’s probably the way they look at it, that we are not important in the University.”

But Gamilla was quick to add that union leaders did not want to “dip their toes in politics” as its focus is on the welfare of the faculty.

Still, the union is disappointed with what had happened to Father Arceo and the University.

“It seems like we are at a loss,” Gamilla said. “Father Arceo is a good man. I am one with him but it’s the (Master-General of the Dominican Order) who has decided. We do not want to get caught with the politics, but I am for Father Arceo.”

Council wants clarification

The Central Student Council wants a clarification on the resignations. “The stand of the Central Student Council is that we would like to be informed more on the reasons why (the priests) were removed,” Reyner Villaseñor, president of the council, said.

He said the council was only informed that the resignation of the three top officials of the University was because of “breaking some parts of the Canon Law.”

Villaseñor said it was important for student council officials to be “enlightened” so that they would be able to answer questions from students.

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He said that the council supports the University in pursuit of the truth “in these troubled times.” John Constantine G. Cordon

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