More UST alumni return awards

(UPDATED) - Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin has joined other alumni who have decided to return the Thomasian Award they received from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Alumni Association Inc. in protest of the same award given to Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson.

In a statement, Villarin said he refuses to buy the association's justification that the sole criterion for the award is for the recipient to be a UST graduate.

"I am returning the Thomasian in Government Service Award given to me last January 21 by the UST Alumni Association because I refuse to buy into their recent justification for awarding Mocha Uson that one only needed to be a graduate of our Alma Mater, and be part of government. If that were true, then all Thomasian civil servants should have also been given such an award," he said.

The lawmaker said it is shameful for Uson to receive such award as her actions go against the university's core values of "truth in charity," public accountability and transparency in government.

"Uson is a purveyor of fake news, an unrepentant violator of ethical standards in journalism, and a free-flowing fountain of foul language and obscenity. Indeed, she has corrupted the values that Thomasians hold dear," Villarin said.

Villarin said other UST alumni also intend to return their award to the organization.

Another UST alumnus, Bino Realuyo, earlier vowed to return the award as a protest.

Realuyo, a novelist based in New York City, said in his Facebook post that he was demoralized by the Uson's recoginition.

“I am demoralized by your recognition of Mocha Uson. As a protest of your decision to support a political propagandist who thrives in attacking the highest ideals of Philippine democracy, I am returning the award given to me. I am sure there are many unsung and worthy alumni of UST whom you can honor and recognize. Mocha Uson is certainly not one of them,” he said.

Former Health secretary Carmencita Noriega-Reodica will also return the plaque given to her in 1997.

After the organization honored Uson, she said the award has already lost its meaning and significance.

In a statement on Sunday, the UST disowned the award given to Uson after netizens, including the university's students and alumni, expressed disappointment over the decision.

UST's school paper The Varistarian urged the officers of the alumni association to resign for honoring Uson. (SunStar Philippines)
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