Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. topped the election for Rector among Dominicans in UST last April 25, nearly a month after completing a first term marked by big-ticket projects, efforts to boost the University’s international profile, and a fourth papal visit.

Fr. Dagohoy’s election by members of the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas began the selection process for the rectorship. His election still has to be confirmed by the Vatican and the Master of the Order of Preachers. But Rome has historically never disagreed with the election results, and UST rectors are traditionally allowed to complete two four-year terms.

Sought for comment, Fr. Dagohoy said he would “think hard pray about it.”

In an earlier interview with the Varsitarian, he said he stepped down last March 31, a month earlier than scheduled, to give more time for the election and transition process as well as preparations for the K to 12 transition (see related stories on pages 1 and 2). Fr. Dagohoy added that he preferred to be sent to Dominican missions after years of serving in administrative positions, but said the decision to reelect him was up to his brethren.

Vice Rector Fr. Richard Ang, O.P. is the Acting Rector.

The April 25 convocation nominated two other candidates aside from Fr. Dagohoy: Fr. Ang and Fr. Rodel Aligan, O.P., regent of the Faculty of Arts and Letters. The Dominican priory in UST has around 40 members.

The UST General Statutes states that any Filipino member of the Dominican Order holding a civil or ecclesiastical doctorate degree is eligible to become Rector. Around 15 to 20 Dominicans are qualified, Fr. Ang said.

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After the convocation of the University’s Dominican friars, UST Vice Chancellor Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P. will approve the terna or list of three candidates and present it to the Academic Senate, which will then scrutinize and rank the candidates.

The Senate is composed of the Vice Chancellor, who is the provincial or head of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, and the University’s vice rectors, deans and secretary general. The Vice Chancellor then transmits the ranked list to the Board of Trustees, whose members include the vice rectors, the secretary general and other Dominican friars.

The transmittal to the Academic Senate and the Board of Trustees was set on April 28.

The names and credentials of the chosen candidates will later be submitted to the Master of the Order, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, O.P., who will endorse the ranked list of candidates to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education for final evaluation.

The Holy See will then issue the declaration “nihil obstat,” Latin for “nothing obstructs” or “there is no obstacle,” and gives the name of the chosen nominee back to the Master of the Order, who makes the official appointment.

Rome is expected to make a decision before June.

UST rectors have traditionally been reelected to a second term, as in the case of Fr. Norberto Castillo, O.P. (1982-1986 and 1986-1990), Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P. (1990-1994 and 1994-1998), and Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P. (1998-2002 and 2002-2006).

Fr. Dagohoy was internal auditor and director of finance and administration of UST Hospital before assuming the rectorship in 2012. He is a member of the Scientific Council of the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem, and head of the Association of South East and East Asian Catholic Colleges and Universities, an association promoting Catholic higher education in the region.

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Fr. Ang, the University vice rector, was dean of the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy. He finished philosophy at the Faculty of Arts and Letters in 1990, sacred theology at the Faculty of Sacred Theology in 1997, master of arts in theology in 1999 and doctor of philosophy in 2010.

Fr. Aligan is a member of the UST Board of Trustees and Council of Regents. He is assistant professor at the Faculty of Sacred Theology, where he had served as dean. He is ecclesiastical adviser of the Catholic Physicians Guild of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board. He finished philosophy at Dominican House of Studies in 1978. He pursued further studies in UST, namely: Master of Arts in Higher Religious Studies in 1993, Licentiate in Sacred Theology in 1993 and Doctor of Sacred Theology in 1998. Jerome P. Villanueva

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