MANILA—Malacañang on Wednesday stressed that an honorary degree from the University of the Philippines (UP) is not something that President Rodrigo Duterte would run after but said the President might accept the offer as a sign of goodwill.
“It would be quite an honor to receive that (honorary degree), but it’s not something that he (Duterte) is, you know, angling for. Of course, a sign of mutual respect would be in place here,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said during a Palace briefing.
“Although he doesn’t run after awards, you know, it would be a sign of goodwill towards the highest, well, one of the most premiere, one of the three premiere institutions,” Abella said.
The UP Board of Regents (BOR), the university’s highest policy making body, is reportedly keen on conferring Duterte the honorary doctor of laws degree as part of tradition.
UP offers the honorary doctors degree to Philippine presidents usually on their first year in office.
However, some sectors are opposing the move due to alleged human rights violations in the campaign against drugs.
Notwithstanding, Abella said that President Duterte would be inclined to accept the conferment if it is offered.
“Well, if it’s offered, I suppose he would. Why not? It’s not something that he runs after,” he said.
Abella added though that Malacañang has yet to receive an official communications from UP.
In the meantime, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that protests against the conferment of a UP honorary degree to the President are unfounded.
“The allegations on human rights violations remain just that, allegations. The ground for the opposition therefore is baseless as it is misplaced,” Panelo said.