November 28, 2007

Holier than Thou (Their title, not mine)

This is the response to my post (see "Ingratitude. In Gratitude") from Harry, Florin, Barry, Prof. Pangalangan, Former Dean Pangalangan, Former Dean Magallona, Former Dean Carale, Danny Concepcion, Professor Labitag, Professor Sison (some of those mentioned as having signed the statement posted; the two Profs. Disini, JJ and Domingo, did not sign).

It is not my intention to reply point for point as I stand by my statement completely.

Let me simply say two things:

1. I am pleasantly surprised that Florin Hilbay, who teaches Atheism in place of legal theory in first year, would quote scripture to me, and
2. I am mildly disappointed that Dean Pangalangan would not appreciate the irony (as my post on ingratitude was intended to be ironic) of his lecturing to me on "patronage politics."
3. And of course, I am shocked that "farce" would not include a professor who, in place of teaching the Bill of Rights in Consti Law 2 would teach everything BUT the Bill of Rights and leave his students to figure out for themselves what the Bill of Rights is.
4. Finally, I do miss being called "Teddy", something that my REALLY GOOD FRIENDS call me.

I would want to say "I am sorry" to the two former Deans Carale and Magallona but I cannot. I look up to Dean Magallona but, on this one, I disagree totally with his signing the statement and I have given my reasons why. I will apologize, however, for using strong language--stronger perhaps than they are used to.

The statement condemns ME (they give me too much credit, really) for subverting the process. The last time I looked, everyone was free to send any letter, petition, request or what have you to the BOR; now, whether the BOR would grant it--that is another question. What was the group afraid of? Now had I RIGGED THE BOR to change the decision of the Chancellor, then that would have been subverting the process. I think they give me too much credit and the BOR too little.

Enough of me. Let's hear them:

27 November 2007

Dear Teddy,

OUR STATEMENT STOOD ON THE PRINCIPLE that the Search Process must not be subverted. Instead of answering us on the level of principle, you attacked us as persons, labeled us as ingrates, and viewed it all as the politics of patronage.

You have committed two basic mistakes.

FIRST, YOU GOT THE FACTS WRONG. You say that we “demand[ed] that Dean Carlota not be allowed any extension of his term beyond his birthday.”

THAT IS FALSE. We attach a copy of the Statement. About the agreement among the faculty members and the UP Diliman Chancellor on the Search Process for the new Dean, we expressly stated:

“The agreement reached last November 2 allows Dean Carlota to join the search as a nominee seeking extension of his term, provided he submit (just like any other nominee) to an open, transparent, and deliberative process.”

“We are not requesting the Board to reject outright Dean Carlota’s request for extension; we are simply appealing that the Board respect the university-sanctioned, agreed-upon selection process and make its decision after deliberative mechanisms within the community directly affected be first implemented to ensure that the selection process is participatory and meaningful for the stakeholders.”

All we asked was for Dean Carlota to let the official Search Process take its course. Instead, you preferred to subvert the official Search Process and to sneak into the Board of Regents a petition to extend him, by-passing the already on-going Search Process. Your attempt to take the moral high ground with dirty hands reeks of duplicity.

YOU GOT THE FACTS WRONG A SECOND TIME. Dean Carlota already got an extension of his teaching (i.e. his faculty appointment). The Academic Personnel Committee, with the vote of some of the signatories to our Statement, gave him the maximum extension. We are grateful to those who have long served the law school, which is why it has been the consistent policy to extend retiring faculty.

It was Dean Carlota who required senior faculty members to write him a letter requesting an extension. Yet when the Committee asked him to do likewise, he did not “request.” He merely “declared” his intention to teach beyond the mandatory retirement age. Despite the imperiousness, the Committee obliged him.

But that Committee doesn’t have the power to recommend the extension of his term as Law Dean (i.e. his administrative assignment), which is now the subject of the Search Process.

SECOND, DEAN CARLOTA FACES MANDATORY RETIREMENT BY OPERATION OF LAW. Teddy, if you wish to carve out exceptions to the law, it is YOUR burden to explain why, NOT OURS.

He became Dean in October 2005, aware that he would turn 65 in December 2007 and could not complete the usual 3-year term (in October 2008). He has categorically declared before several faculty members that he was not interested in being extended beyond December 2007. Why blame us that we acted upon his own declaration of disinterest? “Public office is not the private reserve of public officers.”

We are amazed that you will shame our senior colleagues, one “who practically begged for an extension so that he could hold on to his administrative post” and another who received an extension of his faculty appointment. We are sorry, Ted, but their votes were not for sale, sorrier still that you thought they were.

SADLY, YOU SEE COLLEGE GOVERNANCE AS NOTHING BUT A MATTER OF PATRONAGE POLITICS, of “utang na loob”, viewing everything in terms of “betrayal” or “gratitude”, and excluding the possibility of a principled stand on issues that go beyond personal loyalty. This is why you cast in moralizing terms the decision of your colleagues to allow for an open debate as to who should lead the law school. What is so morally abhorrent, Teddy, about inviting others to a conversation on policy options for the leadership of a law school?

Having blinded yourself to the tyranny of your own point of view, you label as ungrateful those who you think support other leaders and then demonize those who disagree with you.

YOU ASK: "WHY THE RUSH?". There was no rush; it was merely the straightforward application of the law. The Chancellor himself, during the meeting with the law faculty, stated that the search process is already late because it should have begun 3 months before the end of the incumbent’s term.

INDEED WE ASK YOU: “WHY THE RUSH, TEDDY?” Why agree to a Search Process when we were face to face at a faculty meeting – a Process that will start with the College constituents, then the Chancellor, then the UP President, and then the BOR – and then betray that process and go directly to the BOR?

You applaud when the law is applied “chapter and verse.” Now the law has caught up with you and Dean Carlota, and you wish to skip entire chapters and verses.

YOU USED THE WORDS “ONE BIG, CRUEL FARCE.” THE BIGGEST, CRUELEST FARCE is that you raise the issue of absenteeism when – as many of your students would attest – you are perennially absent from your classes in Criminal Law and Criminal Law Review, and you miss even your own makeup classes. Your present and past students, some of them now members of the faculty, say that they considered your course as one of “self-study.” Awkward as it is, but can you can assure us that you have not skipped classes to attend to your private practice of law?

You say: “One cannot become a great lawyer unless one is a good person first.” Teddy, please spare us the holier-than-thou platitudes. Guess what they call those who fail the injunction: “First cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”

Sincerely yours,

Harry Roque
Florin Hilbay
Barry Gutierrez
Elizabeth Pangalangan
Raul Pangalangan
Merlin Magallona
Bartolome Carale
Danilo Concepcion
Carmelo V. Sison
Edgardo A. Labitag


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