Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lessons from a commencement speech

Portions of MVP's Ateneo speech side by side with plagiarized sections are documented here.

MVP's apology and offer to resign is posted here.

...and the latest:

Ateneo rejects MVP resignation
By Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines - The Board of Trustees of the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) has rejected the resignation of businessman Manuel Pangilinan as the board’s chairman following the controversy over plagiarized portions of his speech during the recent graduation rites in the school.

Fr. Bienvenido Nebres told a press briefing yesterday at the Ateneo campus in Quezon City that the Board of Trustees met last Sunday and decided to ask Pangilinan to reconsider his offer to resign....

Nebres said the unanimous decision of the board is not to accept Mr. Pangilinan’s resignation and the board expressed full confidence in his leadership as chairman...
There are 14 members in the Ateneo board, excluding chairman Pangilinan, and they voted unanimously to reject the offer of resignation. Curiously, not one of them considered that this decision might only fan the fires of controversy, instead of closing the book. What mixed messages are they imparting to the students? To the general public? From now on, would they now forgive all the "unintended" dishonesties of its students? How does one weigh accountability for results against intentions? How about facing consequences? How about understanding consequences? Isn't the Ateneo board opening itself to charges in favoring the monetary contributions of MVP? What are the lessons learned? The way I look at the board's decision, there are more excuses than lessons learned. MVP's graduation speech has many more lessons to impart, long after it has been delivered.

Off you go, graduates.


sunnyday said...

I am heartened that MVP has submitted an irrevocable resignation. But I hope nobody ends up portraying him as a hero because of that latest move!

WillyJ said...


Perhaps the Philippines is so inured to high-ranking officials who cannot admit mistakes humbly (or high-profile politicians who insist on exonerating themselves despite obvious transgressions), that this move of MVP is seen as extraordinarily honorable. Laudable, yes, but there you have a point - not to the extent that we consider him a hero. In a way, this incident is good for the Philippines. It reiterates the normal and the right thing to do under sensitive circumstances. I presume MVP's innocence and good intentions here, but he did the right thing by taking full responsibility. It was just a great embarrassment, and for a while there the Ateneo board's decision bordered on adding scandal as well. Now the situation forces them to accept. I do hope the lessons have been learned.