Editorial: Awards are gifts, you can return them anytime

PRESIDENTIAL Communications Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux "Mocha" Uson returned the award given by the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Association Inc. (USTAAI) and the USTAAI president has resigned. That should put an end to the uproar.

Except that, the bigotry that met the award leaves a very bitter taste; which places UST alumni ideals and principles in question; not because its alumni association decided to award Uson, but because of how her fellow alumni treated her like a slut not worthy of standing on the same stage with them.

"I said I'm ready to return the award but Mr. Henry (Tenedero, resigned as USTAAI president) said they don't have any intent to get it back. They held an emergency meeting and the result of the meeting was they will not take it back. But I said I would still return it," she said in a chance interview. "Earlier this morning (January 24, 2018), I returned it. They accepted it. I returned it because I did not ask for the award. I just accepted it because they gave it to me."

"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," said Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin, who first returned the same award. We all know, of course, that Uson has never been a journalist, and Villarin's contention that awarding Uson violates the university's core values of "truth in charity," public accountability and transparency in government, shifts the klieg lights on him; him also being in government and that very vague concept of truth in charity that can ricochet back to him.

As reported by SunStar Philippines, a UST alumnus who is now a novelist based in New York City, Bino Realuyo, also said he intends to return his award he received in 2003.

"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 said in a statement.

These two gentlemen have made their point, in grating language at that, intended to shame, and that is where we have to draw the line. Was it necessary?

Shaming has become our language, it seems. Bigotry is mainstream. We only have to read through stories like this to realize the venom that has become our common language, and that is very sad, indeed.

The awards have been given, they have been returned. Let's all move on and look deep within ourselves, what have we really contributed to our country and our God? Have our contributions earned us the right to shame anyone who has not violated the laws of the land and of God? Really, and honestly?

We have our own answers, but we'd rather keep it to ourselves. We just hope you have your own honest answers about yourselves as well. Bigotry has no place in anyone who claims to uphold the core values of Competence, Compassion, and Commitment. That's just a friendly reminder from us, the observers and who also believe in similar core values, especially... Compassion.
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