Does San Beda College now suffer from its proximity to evil?
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2008-04-01
Our parents were right when they taught us not to associate with evil persons lest we become evil like them in the end. Indeed, the once good men who decided to join the evil regime now provide testimony to that fate.

Administrators of Malacanang neighbor San Beda College (SBC) seem to have also been drawn into the influence of the Malacanang resident who wears Prada.

Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino, Dean of the SBC Graduate School College of Law, seems to have taken it upon himself to lawyer for the evil regime.

“The CBCP should be the voice of sobriety. It should not jump the gun on investigations. It should be the last to join the bandwagon of popular sentiment. In fact, calls for resignation, to my mind, lack any moral moorings at all. What moral precept is it that justifies such a call?” Fr. Aquino said.

Fr. Aquino also said that a call for resignation is justified only when a government is “utterly lawless, tyrannical, despotic and oppressive.”

Hello? Where was this Benedictine priest all this time? He speaks as though all our institutions were functioning properly and as though the justice system had been successfully prosecuting the plunderers and the murderers of unarmed activists.

Now, we have this recent case of the SBC Rector and President, Fr. Mateo J. de Jesus, OSB, who is under fire from students and parents who felt betrayed when he suddenly announced the dissolution of the SBC Philosophy Department.

Philosophy is the foundation of the science of ethics and moral values. When an educational institution dumps philosophy as a legitimate college course, is it not also communicating its lack of appreciation for the science that values higher wisdom and morality?

Oddly, that seems to be what Fr. de Jesus did when he issued his March 12 letter announcing: “San Beda College, in its strategic direction toward contributing more effectively and efficiently to national development goals, has embarked on a thorough review of its courses and program offerings. As a result of this review, management has decided to close the Philosophy Department of the College with the end in view of streamlining its curricular and program offerings.”

“It is with deep regret that we now issue to you this notice prior to the closure of the Department of Philosophy which will take effect at the close of office hours on 15 April 2008.”

“San Beda College, however, hastens to advise you that it will facilitate your transfer to any of its current courses/program offerings or to any other higher educational institution of your choice,” Fr. de Jesus’ letter concluded.

Students and parents naturally reacted. They sent a letter of protest on March 26 to Rev. Fr. Roderick Salazar, SVD, Director of the CEAP in the NCR. This Chair Wrecker was supplied a copy of this letter by Mr. Eric Apolonio, father of Dean’s lister Suzanne Apolonio who was affected by the closure.

The students protested that the closure is detrimental to their education and runs counter to the very purpose and mission of a Catholic school (not to mention the 5-week notice).

“We were only informed of the school management’s decision regarding this matter after they have already decided on it. As an issue that directly affects us and the continuance of our studies, we believe that this matter should have undergone the process of consultation between the school administration and the students,” they wrote.

They added: “This event is especially detrimental to the incoming fourth year students. With only one year left to conclude studies, the closure of the department would delay the anticipated graduation of the incoming seniors. As it appears, the efforts we have exerted to be able to surpass the hurdles of philosophy and human resource development would all end to a waste.”

The students cited their rights under Section 61 of the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools which state: “Admission to any private school is open to all pupils and students who meet its specific standards, requirements and regulations as expressed in printed publications or other written material. Except in cases of academic delinquency, violation of school rules and regulations, the closure of the school itself, the pupil or student who qualifies for enrolment is qualified to stay for the entire period in which he is expected to complete course in a school, without prejudice to his right to transfer to other schools within the prescribed period.”

They even called to task the SBC administrators for violating the demands of mutual dialogue as stated in the Second Vatican Council: “In consequence of the principle of participation and co-responsibility the various groupings which constitute the educational community are, according to their several competencies, to be associated in decision-making concerning the Catholic School and in the application of decisions once taken.”

Philosophy has served as foundation for the more ethically-inclined aspiring lawyers. For a school that has consistently produced good lawyers, it is so unusual that San Beda College is ditching its Philosophy Department.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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