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Alfredo E Pascual, former alum regent elected University of the Philippines President

President-elect Alfredo Pascual. Photo courtesy of Prof. Judy Taguiwalo

Former alumni regent of the University of the Philippines, Mr Alfredo E Pascual was elected by the UP Board of Regents as the university's next President on Dec 3, 2010. He was elected on a plurality vote by the Regents casting secret ballots. Mr Pascual's term starts on February 9, 2011 and he will serve a term of six years. The election of UP President does not need Congressional or Palace assent. Mr Pascual will be the 20th President of the country's oldest and largest public university. He takes over from Dr Emerlinda Roman.

Mr Pascual was initially not considered  as a leading nominee since for many years all UP Presidents came from the ranks of the active professors. The last "outsider" or non-academic elected to the post was Edgardo Angara in 1981, who was a practicing attorney before assuming the university's top post. Angara went on to become Senator of the Philippines.

The Diliman Diary blog has this to say about Pascual's election. Citizen Earl posts Pascual's Vision paper.  The Facebook page of the Philippine Collegian has this to say too. Pascual is known to have supported the university's sectoral regents (faculty, student and staff) in controversial issues that have dogged the university in recent years.

It is very likely Pascual's baptism of fire will be on how he deals with the 1.39 B peso budget cut by the Noynoy Aquino administration. He will have to immediately find a way of making for the funding shortfall short of passing this burden to students and their parents. UP constituents foresee that UP will get less and less state support in the next few years.

It remains to be seen how Pascual can succeed on this priority. But it makes me wonder if his election is a compromise one.

A non-academic as President may be what UP needs at this crucial time. Academics who get elected to the top post tend to bring their turf to Quezon Hall and need to satisfy their constituents. There is always politics everywhere as they say!

But of course congratulations (and prayers) are in order first. Mabuhay Fred Pascual!

PS: I saw people staking out at Quezon Hall's forecourt waiting for news of the election of the President this morning. Well it seems that the closed door election by the Regents is beginning to look like a Conclave electing the Supreme Pontiff! Shouldn't Quezon Hall put up a stove and a chimney that spews 1) maroon smoke for no election, and 3) green smoke for Habemus Praesidentem? ;-) The Chair of the Board is the Dean of the Cardinals who makes the solemn announcement!

A University really takes much of its governance from the Vatican! LOL!

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