There are people who simply cannot compromise their beliefs and principles.
The alumni association of one of the top universities in the country is facing a howl of protest as both students and alumni of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) continue to express their rage and disappointment over the award given to Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
The University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association (USTAA) has given Uson a Thomasian Award for government service.
Uson, Esther Margaux J. Uson in real life, is a former sexy star and dancer, sex blogger and a prominent member of the so-called “pro-Duterte bloggers,” a group of social media influencers that is notoriously associated with fake news.
As more and more individuals and groups are criticizing the granting of the underserved award to Uson, another alumnus who was previously conferred recognition by the university has decided to return the award given to him.
Bino A. Realuyo, a respected Filipino-American poet, novelist and essayist, author of “The Umbrella Country” and the poetry collection “The Gods We Worship Live Next Door,” was selected in 2003 as one the 75+ humbled alumni of UST High School the past 75 years and given the “75th Founding Anniversary Award.”
In a Facebook post announcing his decision to return the award given to him, Realuyo said that “the recent Thomasian Alumni Award recognition of Mocha Uson, a known propagandist and ‘purveyor of fake news’ at a time when Freedom of the Press is under attack in the Philippines is an insult to all UST Alumni who believe in upholding one of the pillars of strong democracies—VERITAS.”
Realuyo, a recipient of the 2009 Philippine National Book Award, echoed the sentiment of the UST Central Student Council which issued a strong statement condemning the award to Uson. The student body said that “Uson does not embody the ideals of a real Thomasian.”
“With all due respect, Ms. Esther Margaux “Mocha” Justiniano Uson does not deserve an award that was supposed to be meant solely for outstanding Thomasian alumni,”
the council added.
Realuyo said that there are many unsung but more deserving alumni of UST that can be given honor and recognition than Mocha Uson.
“Her (Uson) idea of change has resulted in the death of many Filipinos,” Realuyo asserted apparently referring to the thousands who died through extrajudicial killings (EJK) and vigilantism since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office and launched the bloody and murderous war on drugs.
Realuyo, who is pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University as a Leadership Fellow, said that he continues to cherish the values that my teachers and staff at UST have instilled in me specifically the motto VERITAS. VINCIT OMNIA VERITAS or truth conquers all.
“History will judge us. For now, we have to keep our faith in Truth by rejecting those who obscure and twist it in the name of propaganda,”
the multi-awarded author quipped.
Realuyo said that he was demoralized by the award given by USTAA, thus, the decision to return the award given to him.
“As a protest of your decision to support a political propagandist who thrives on attacking the highest ideals of Philippine democracy, I am returning the award given to me,”