The end of Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P.’s eight-year tenure as Rector of UST in January triggered the process of selecting the next head of Asia’s oldest university.

The selection process is outlined in the UST General Statutes, the set of rules by which UST is governed. The latest statutes were approved by the Vatican in 2014.

Under the General Statutes, the Rector of UST must be a member of the Order of Preachers, or the Dominicans, and a holder of a doctorate degree.

The Rector of UST is appointed by the Master of the Order, who is ex-officio the chancellor of UST. What’s interesting is that the Master of the Dominicans, Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P., is a Filipino Dominican with deep ties to UST.

The process begins with the nomination of three candidates or the terna, which is akin to the selection of diocesan bishops. This is done through secret ballot by Dominicans living in the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas in UST, and Dominicans assigned to teach in the University in the current academic year.

The names of the three candidates are then submitted for the approval of prior provincial, or the head of the Filipino Dominicans, Fr. Napoleon Sipalay, Jr., O.P., who is ex-officio the vice chancellor of UST.

If he approves, the vice chancellor presents the three names to the Academic Senate, the body composed of the vice rectors and college deans, who will vote through secret ballot to determinate ranking or order of preference of the three names.

The vice chancellor then transmits the ranked list to the Board of Trustees, UST’s highest policy- and decision-making body composed of top officials of the University and members of the Dominican Order.

Under the rules, the Board of Trustees “endorses the names of the three (3) nominees with such observations and recommendations as it may deem fit to the Vice Chancellor for submission to the Chancellor.”

The vice chancellor then forwards the names of the three nominees to the Chancellor “together with the protocol of elections conducted by the professors of the Order of Preachers and by the Academic Senate, and with the observations and recommendations of the Board of Trustees and his own.”

After securing the nihil obstat (“nothing stands in the way”) of the Holy See, a declaration of “no objection” from the Vatican, the Chancellor appoints his choice of Rector.

Thirty-four Dominicans were deemed qualified to be candidates for Rector. Here are five Dominicans who might succeed Fr. Dagohoy and become the 97th Rector of UST:

Fr. Richard Ang, O.P.

Ang, who has a doctorate in philosophy, has been vice rector of UST since 2012. He became Acting Rector in January after Dagohoy stepped down from office. Ang is also dean of the Ecclesiastical Faculty of Philosophy, where he is a full professor. 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. Jesus Miranda, O.P.

Miranda finished his Doctor of Philosophy major in Educational Leadership and Management at De La Salle University in 2009. He was named UST secretary general in 2017. Prior to this, Miranda was regent of the College of Education and Education High School from 2013 to 2016. He was previously director of financial affairs of Angelicum College, now UST Angelicum College, in Quezon City. Miranda finished his bachelor’s in philosophy at the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies in 1995, bachelor’s in theology in UST in 1998, and master’s in theology, also in UST, in 2000.

Fr. Stephen Redillas, O.P.

Redillas is prior of the Dominican convent in Manaoag, Pangasinan, overseeing the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag. He was previously assigned to the Saint Mary Magdalene House, which runs the Caleruega Dominican retreat house in Nasugbu, Batangas, and St. Albert the Great Priory in Calamba, Laguna. Redillas headed research and planning, development and innovation at Letran College in Calamba. A lecturer at the University of South Australia, Redillas has a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies from the University of the Philippines and a Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration from the University of South Australia – Magill Campus.

Fr. Rodel Aligan, O.P.

Aligan was the University’s secretary general from 1995 to 2001, prefect of theologians at the UST Central Seminary from 1981 to 2001 and regent of the Faculty of Arts and Letters from 1991 to 1995 and from 2015 to present. Aligan is dean of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, where he is an associate professor. He was ecclesiastical adviser of the Catholic Physicians Guild of the Philippines and a member of the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board. He finished philosophy at the 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.

Fr. Roland Mactal, O.P.

A former prior of Santo Domingo Convent in Quezon City, Mactal is regent of the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management. He finished his mathematics degree at the College of Science in 1989. An associate professor of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, specializing in dogma and Mariology, Mactal served as chaplain of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag from 2009 to 2015. He obtained his licentiate and doctorate in sacred theology in UST.


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