Adamson University

Father Danny Pilario, anti-EJK priest, is new Adamson University president

Robbin M. Dagle

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Father Danny Pilario, anti-EJK priest, is new Adamson University president

NEW HEAD. Father Danny Pilario is installed as seventh president of Adamson University on December 13, 2023.

Adamson University

Father Daniel Franklin 'Danny' Pilario, who fought extrajudicial killings under Rodrigo Duterte, says the days of 'terror professors' are over

MANILA, Philippines – Father Daniel Franklin “Danny” Pilario, a Cebuano theologian known for his fight against drug war killings, is the seventh president of the 91-year-old Adamson University.

Pilario is a 62-year-old Catholic priest belonging to the Congregation of Mission (CM), also known as the Vincentians, that operates Adamson. He succeeds Father Marcelo Manimtim, who had led the Adamson since December 2015.

Pilario is leading Adamson at a time when the school is getting more recognized worldwide. Adamson rose to rank 551-600 in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings in Asia for 2024, from rank 701-750 in the previous year. QS also recognized Adamson for producing the Philippines’ highest-impact research.

Born in Oslob, Cebu, the new Adamson president is heavily influenced by his experience with the poor and the marginalized. A theologian and academic by profession, he has written extensively on matters of justice and human rights, Catholic social teaching, and liberation theology. 

During the Duterte administration, Pilario was among the Catholic priests most outspoken against extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the war on drugs.

Beginning in 2016, Pilario has helped organize the widows of the drug war in Payatas, Quezon City to support them and their families’ recovery and develop their own sources of livelihood through Project SOW (Solidarity for Orphans and Widows of Payatas).

Pilario has also written Thought Leader articles for Rappler.

In his acceptance speech on Wednesday, December 13, Pilario thanked his predecessors and all those working in the university for working towards Adamson’s current stature as among the Philippines’ top higher education institutions. 

Saying that gone are the days of “terror professors,” the new president also told faculty and staff to exercise care for students and each other and seek out those “who are left behind or discriminated against.” 

“Gone are the days when teachers pride themselves as ‘terror professors’ who flunk their students without explaining why. A really good professor is one who teaches science with discipline but also with kindness. A good administrator is one who tells the truth with firmness but also with charity,” said the new Adamson president.

“Be sensitive to those who have mental health issues, or who are living troubled lives. They do not express it but there are many of them among us. In a world of violence which they experience every day, make them feel that Adamson is a space of care, that we care deeply,” he said.

He also reminded the university of its foremost mission to form “competent, responsible and compassionate professionals who have a heart for the poor,” amid the pressures posed by the increasingly-competitive academic landscape.

“Unless our sciences lead to the alleviation [of] the pain and suffering in the world, all these [we do] are actually useless,” he said. –

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