MANILA, Philippines – Controversy arose over a viral photo showing members of the FEU Lady Tamaraws declaring their support for the tandem of Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte in the upcoming May elections.
A Facebook fan page of the Lady Tamaraws on Friday, April 29, posted a photo of FEU volleyball players Lycha Ebon, Niks Medina, Ash Cañete, Jean Asis, Shiela Kiseo, and Chen Tagaod wearing “BBM-Sara 2022” shirts.
The university immediately released a statement, claiming the players “do not represent” FEU.
“FEU has been traditionally apolitical,” the university said. “FEU students and employees can endorse any candidate running for elections in their own personal capacity.”
However, this stance has been met with dismay by the student body, particularly the FEU Central Student Organization (CSO) as it called on the university to “take a stand.”
The FEU CSO openly endorses Vice President Leni Robredo and encourages students and alumni to wear pink during UAAP Season 84 games.
“Education has always been political,” the FEU CSO said in a statement. “World War II. Martial Law. Extrajudicial killings. History has proven that our university has pushed back against grave injustices and abuse of power.”
“The Tamaraw core values of fortitude, excellence, and uprightness call for us to stand and fight for truth – being traditionally apolitical is not part of them.”
“May we always be brave to battle for the right,” the FEU CSO added.
The daughter of Lady Tamaraws head coach George Pascua, Jennifer Anne, also shed light on the issue, saying that the players on the photo do not represent the whole team.
Pascua noted the fan page should have been more responsible as the post implied that the entire team supported Marcos and Duterte.
“I think Papa, being a very diplomatic person that he is, will also respect his players’ preferences. Our family stands at the other side of the fence opposite to these kids,” she said.
“He was not aware that it was posted on a fan page that gave the impression as if the whole team prefers the same. I think the athletes’ preference can still be expressed but with a better messaging.”
Pascua asked the players on the photo to revisit their choice.
In 2017, FEU refused to suspend classes on the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, with university president Michael Alba saying it is a “day of infamy, a day of national shame.”
“It is not the end. I hope you all know that FEU Advocate got shut down during Martial Law, a time when critics of the government were silenced,” Pascua said in Filipino.
“Do you want live in a world where you cannot post your opinion?” – Rappler.com
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