MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson is set to return the government service award to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Alumni Association Inc. after the criticisms she has received from the university’s community and the general public.
On Sunday, the USTAAI conferred to Uson the Thomasian Alumni Award for Government Service “to serve as an inspiration to other government workers”, during the university’s Grand Alumni Homecoming.
“What the public didn’t know is that before their statement came out, I already told UST Alumni Association Inc. President Sir Henry Tenedero that I will return the award. However, he said they have no plans of getting it back,” Uson said in Filipino through her Facebook post.
According to a report from UST’s student publication The Varsitarian, Uson will return the award on Wednesday.
“I am admired UST Alumni Association Inc. because despite the bullying they got from some Thomasians, they still stood firm with their decision,” Uson added.
In a statement, the USTAAI said they will not withdraw any award that had already been given.
“The USTAAI stands firm with its decision not to rescind the recognition already conferred,” it said.
However, USTAAI President Henry Tenedero has vacated his post following the backlash he received due to the conferment of the award.
“As head of the USTAAI, President Henry Tenedero humbly takes full responsibility on what has happened, thus, tendering his resignation,” the statement added.
In can be recalled that UST distanced itself from the award given to Uson following the backlash, saying the USTAAI is an organization distinct and separate from the university.
Meanwhile, fellow awardee and Akbayan party-list Representative Tom Villarin also vowed to return the award in protest of Uson’s, saying: “I refuse to buy into their recent justification for awarding Mocha Uson that one only needed to be a graduate of our Alma Mater and be part of government. If that were true, then all Thomasian civil servants should have also been given such an award.”