Two SWU colleges of medicine

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014


YESTERDAY was the birth anniversary of one of Cebu’s pioneering educators, Don Matias Aznar, founder of Southwestern University. Don Matias was a visionary but I doubt if even in his wildest dreams he had imagined that one day his family would be riven by disagreements over the administration of his university.

At the heart of the current conflict, which pits Aznar’s only three surviving children against their nephews and nieces, is the control of SWU’s crown jewel, the college of medicine. The college, which has produced some of the country’s best medical practitioners, used to be run by a foundation with the consent of the university and was popularly referred to as the MHAM.

The quarrel traces its roots to the struggle for control of the entire university that the third generation Aznars apparently won. Notwithstanding the disagreement among the owners, however, SWU was operating, if not smoothly, at least fully, including its college of medicine.

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All that changed towards the end of the last school year when the MHAM Foundation, which is controlled by the three surviving Aznar children, reportedly demanded that the university vacates its offices, including that of the university president, on
the ground floor of the MHAM building.

Pointing out that the building was owned by the university which they ran, the Aznar nephews and nieces retaliated by barricading the premises. They also terminated their agreement with the MHAM Foundation to run the university’s college of medicine. These moves were followed by the filing of suits and counter-suits, most, if not all, of which are still pending in court.

In the meantime, there are now two colleges of medicine identified with Don Matias and claiming to be guided by his vision: the MHAM which moved to a new location near the Redemptorist Church after it was ejected, and the SWU College of Medicine, which took over MHAM’s old classrooms.

I wonder if Don Matias would have been pleased.

***

Five Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) Cebu City councilors have signed a resolution that seeks to authorize Mayor Michael Rama to sell lots in the city’s South Road Properties (SRP). This is a dramatic turnaround by the same people who, along with their BO-PK colleagues in the city’s legislature, voted to deny Rama the right to even talk to potential investors in the SRP not very long ago.

Is it coincidental that all the five are respondents in the administrative case filed by lawyer Reymelio Delute with the blessing of former mayor Tommy Osmeña? Immediately after they learned of the complaint, many councilors reportedly sought audience with Osmeña, who reportedly told them that they were “collateral damage.”

It looks like Delute’s complaint has brought about another collateral damage: the loss of BOPK control of the city council.

***

The world never runs out of surprises. Last Monday, I was watching my favorite TV news program when a familiar face appeared on the screen, reporting in flawless Tagalog. It was my friend and idol, Bobby Nalzaro, who was also celebrating his birthday that day.

Super Bobby is a very good Cebuano newscaster; I watch him and Rose Vesoza on Balitang Bisdak regularly but I never imagined that the gentleman from Zamboanga del Norte could shift from one language to another with such contemptuous ease.

No wonder, Mike Enriquez was left gushing that he was the Bobby Nalzaro of Manila.

(frank.otherside@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 14, 2014.

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