MANILA, Philippines – The Varsitarian, the official student publication of the University of Santo Tomas, has called on the officers of the UST Alumni Association Incorporated to resign over its decision to honor Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.
In an editorial titled “Award to ‘Mocha’ a libel on UST” on Monday, January 22, the student paper said, “It is appalling that while the University is promoting ‘Veritas in Caritate’ (Latin for ‘Truth in Charity’), its own alumni association has given a newfangled set of awards, ‘Thomasian Alumni Awards for Government Service,’ and given one to Esther Margaux ‘Mocha’ Uson.”
It said Uson had used her government post – given to her for campaigning for President Rodrigo Duterte – to produce “a slew of fake news, distorted views, blatant lies, and Nazi-like propaganda,” and had “made that much damage on the truth” in her 8 months in office.
Mocha has also made anti-Catholic statements, used profane language, and knowingly repeated lies.
Yet the UST Alumni Association Incorporated (UAAI) decided to reward her for that, the Varsitarian said.
“Yes, corruption of values, as manifested in the casual disregard of all evidence…is evil conduct. It was the same corruption that made the Germans ignore Hitler’s vicious demagoguery and monstrousness. It’s the corruption resulting from what Hannah Arendt called as ‘banality of evil,’ the editorial said. “In giving the award with UST’s name on it to Uson, UAAI has manifested banality of evil and perpetuated a libel on UST. It has perpetuated a lie.” (Read the full text of the Varsitarian editorial here.)
Revoke the award
The UST Journalism Society, for its part, called on the UAAI to revoke the award given to Uson.
Also citing the Malacañang assistant secretary’s record of peddling inaccurate information, maligning critics of the Duterte government, and discrediting media practitioners, the students’ organization said “she is not a role model to aspiring journalists.”
“We wonder if the UST Alumni Association Inc. now considers spreading misleading information and suppressing dissenting views as commendable acts,” the UST Journalism Society said in a statement on Monday.
“We urge the UST Alumni Association Inc. to revoke Uson’s award and to apologize to the members of the Thomasian community for this embarrassing episode.”
Like Uson’s “erroneous social media posts that she had to delete after drawing flak from citizens who refuse to buy her spin,” Uson’s awards should also be removed, the journalism students said. (Read the full statement here.)
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