A VETERAN administrator heads the list of candidates for rector of UST, following separate ballots by the University’s Board of Trustees and the Academic Senate.

Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. internal auditor of UST and director for finance and administration of the UST Hospital,is on top of the terna, or the final list of three candidates, which also includes Faculty of Sacred Theology Dean Fr. Rodel Aligan, O.P. and Faculty of Philosophy Dean Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P.

The selection process has reached a crucial stage, with the names of three candidates sent to Rome last April 9 for a vetting process that could take two to four months.

The Rome-based head of the worldwide Dominican Order will choose the successor to Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., who ended his third term last March 31 (see related story left).

Reliable sources told the Varsitarian Dagohoy is the leading candidate to succeed De la Rosa.

Under the Vatican-approved statutes of the University, the terna is drawn by three successive secret ballots among Dominican friars based in UST. Friars residing at the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas as well as Dominicans with teaching assignments in UST cast their ballots last April 3, following a convocation led by acting Rector Pablo Tiong, O.P. last April 2.

The UST General Statutes states that any Filipino member of the Dominican Order holding a doctoral degree is eligible for the rectorship. Thirty-five Dominicans were qualified, a list obtained by the Varsitarian from the Office of the Secretary General showed. De la Rosa was qualified for the position, along with former rectors Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., Fr. Frederik Fermin, O.P., Fr. Ernesto Arceo, O.P., and Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P.

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As provided under the statutes, UST Vice Chancellor Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, O.P., provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, approved the nominations and transmitted the names to the Academic Senate—composed of himself, the vice rectors, and the deans—last April 4 to determine the order of preference.

The list was endorsed by the all-Dominican Board of Trustees the same day to the vice chancellor, together with the board’s observations and recommendations.

Also under the statutes, the vice chancellor, Pedregosa, must transmit the list to the chancellor of the University, Fr. Bruno Cadore, O.P., the Master of the Order of Preachers based at monastery of Santa Sabina in Rome.

Cadore, in turn, must endorse the names to the Vatican’s Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries for final evaluation. If the council declares the candidates “nihil obstat” – Latin for “nothing obstructs” or “there is no obstacle” – the chancellor then appoints his choice as the new rector.

“The names have already been sent to Rome [last April 9 and we] are now waiting for their decision, which usually takes two to four months,” said Secretary General Fr. Florentino Bolo, Jr., O.P. in an interview.

The candidates

Dagohoy, UST’s internal auditor, was formerly prior of the Sto. Domingo convent which oversees the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval. He was also the chief finance officer of UST Hospital, and a former rector of the Angelicum College of Quezon City.

The most senior candidate is Castillo, who served as rector of the University from 1982 to 1990.

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Aligan, meanwhile, served as secretary general from 1995 to 2001. He was also vice rector for religious affairs, regent of the Faculty of Arts and Letters and UST High School, director of the Institute of Religion, and prior of the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas.

De la Rosa said his successor should take care of the “goodwill” earned by Thomasians over the years.

“Goodwill begets goodwill, and eventually, camaraderie sprouts,” he told the Varsitarian in an interview. “As we brought back the University to the educational map of excellence and prestige, [the next rector] should [strive for] the cooperation of the faculty, employees, and students,” De la Rosa said.

The next rector should also be “approachable” and must listen to every student “to arrive at good decisions,” he said.

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