President Rodrigo Duterte has turned down an honorary doctorate of law from the University of the Philippines, quashing uproar from alumni and students of the state institution, according to report of The Manila Times Online on Thursday.
“With due respect to University of the Philippines, I do not accept even when I was mayor…As a matter of personal and official policy, I do not accept awards. That’s not in my character,” Duterte told reporters in Bohol.
Earlier in the day, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the president would accept the honor.
The honorary doctor of laws degree is conferred by the UP Board of Regents as a matter of tradition on the sitting chief executive.
Duterte, a lawyer, earned his law degree from San Beda College in 1972. He passed the bar exams the same year and was a Davao City prosecutor before joining politics in 1988.
Aside from Duterte, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd will also be given honorary degrees.
The UP board of regents’ decision drew the ire of students and alumni, with the hashtag #DuterteNotWorthy making the rounds of social media on Wednesday.
Theodore Te, public information office chief of the Supreme Court, a former UP law professor, blasted the decision and said Duterte did not deserve an honorary law doctorate because he had encouraged impunity and had weakened the rule of law.
Benjie Allen Aquino, the incoming chairman of the university student council of UP Diliman said the decision was offensive, unpleasant and a wretched injustice to the thousands left for dead by extrajudicial killings.