MANILA, Philippines – “I have nothing against the said student.”
UP professor Gerry Lanuza said this in response to his critics on social media.
Since June 26, Lanuza has been frequenting Facebook timelines and Twitter feeds because of a controversial Facebook post that made a veiled reference to UP student Tiffany Uy, the Summa Cum Laude graduate from the Universtiy of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) who recently made headlines because of her near-perfect grade.
In the said post, he stressed that “getting the highest grade in almost all your classes in UP Diliman doesn’t mean you’re intelligent.”
He wrote in Filipino, “It only means that: you’re very diligent in making reaction papers even if not required, you’re well-behaved in class, you don’t argue with your teachers, you don’t join walkouts against tuition and other fee increases so you have no absences, you even get a medical certificate for your diarrhea that lasted for a day so that you’ll be excused, you were able to buy all the requirements and books, and you were patient in photocopying.”
Although it was not explicitly mentioned in the Facebook status, some netizens assumed he was referring to Uy, who now holds a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Uy obtained a General Weighted Average (GWA) grade of 1.004.
On June 30, Lanuza hit back at his critics through an article published on Rappler, where he said that “the problem with accusing people of doing certain things you don’t approve of is that you also end up doing the same.”
In the article, the professor made clear that he was not bashing Tiffany Uy in his Facebook post.
“My descriptions and the issues I raised in that ‘whining’ post do not even flawlessly match the real student whom I alleged to vilify,” he said.
Lanuza also explained that his Facebook post was not addressed to one person in particular, but to those who “tend to reduce education to mere achievements and general weighted average (GWA)” in general.
Lanuza’s defense did not placate some people. He still earned the ire of some netizens, who claimed that his statement was merely a form of “palusot” or an excuse to escape the negative criticism thrown at him.
Wilfredo Mejia challenged the professor to give Uy a chance to prove herself in the real world. He asked, “How can he not even give this young lady the time to savor her meritorious achievement?”
“And I thought only politicians love to use the my-comments-were-taken-out-of-context excuse,” said netizen Bobby Vito.
Among a number of netizens who claimed that the professor was “whining,” Alrick So said the professor should have given an “alternative solution.”
Antony Sy, in a Facebook response to Rappler, said that while Lanuza may have a point about students being too “grade conscious,” he questions why he had to put people down in the process. “He puts down the student, the parents and the professors all in one paragraph,” he said.
Russel Alabado described Lanuza as “a perfect example of a person who had nothing to do in life but drag other people to the bottom.”
In defense of Lanuza?
Some, however, were quick to defend Lanuza, saying that the heated debate sparked by the professor’s Facebook post was a matter of wrong timing.
They thought that Lanuza’s controversial post did not intend to bash Tiffany Uy, but that it was only coincidentally made at the same time Uy was making headlines and gaining recognition for her outstanding academic performance.
“His post was timely and relevant, period. I don’t think that he was trying to single out Tiffany Uy in his post,” said Denise Janer in response to the Rappler article written by Lanuza.
Jason Balisi joined Lanuza’s wave of supporters and said the professor had nothing to apologize for.
Jepoi Capati thought the professor’s Facebook status was “a post at the wrong time.”
He then asked Lanuza’s critics what they would’ve thought if Uy was not making headlines when Lanuza posted his status.
“For those who actually know sir Lanuza based on his post that’s being blown up by the media, you should know that sir has been quite vocal about social issues on his page. I don’t believe he meant to bash anyone at all, and I do believe he was just offering or informing people the faults of our educational system through a sociological perspective,” said Patrick Cadano in a comment on the Rappler article.
What are your thoughts on Gerry Lanuza’s statement? Share with us your views on the comment thread below! – Rappler.com
Justine Hernandez is a Rappler intern.