CatSU Pres. Azanza’s nomination for UP presidency

Last week, the entire Catanduanes State University was rocked by reports that its president, Dr. Patrick Alain Azanza, was among the six official candidates in the search for the next president of the University of the Philippines (UP).

Thus, Dr. Azanza will join former 1-Edukasyon party-list representative Salvador Belaro Jr., former faculty regent Angelo Jimenez, UP Diliman chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, former UP Diliman vice chancellor for research and development Benito Pacheco and former UP Los Baños chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr. in the public forum scheduled on Nov. 11, 2022 at Cine Adarna at the UP Diliman campus where they would present their plans and programs and respond to questions from the UP constituency.

The nation’s premier public university released the list of the official bets after the Board of Regents (BOR), chaired by Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman J. Prospero de Vera III and co-chaired by outgoing president Danilo Concepcion, conducted a preliminary screening and evaluation of the nominations received.

Only six nominations were received by the university during the nomination period that ended on Oct. 14, reports stated.

The next UP president will be appointed by the 11-member BOR, with the appointee to begin his six-year term on Feb. 10, 2023 and serve as the university’s chief academic officer, head of the faculty and chief executive officer.

Expectedly, there were caustic, harsh reactions from the CatSU community, including those who believe in Pres. Azanza’s Vision of Hope and the Agro-Industrial Economic Processing Zone that is one of the vision’s main feature.

One lamented how the president was using his election to the CatSU presidency as the springboard for a renewed attempt to land the much-coveted post at UP for the seventh time.

Another felt betrayed that Azanza was leaving the Vision of Hope hanging on the precipice of certain failure, with the loss of its main architect and implementor.

In a statement released to the Tribune, which is published in its entirety on page 2, Pres. Azanza clarified that since he was 37 years old, he has always been nominated as a candidate for UP presidency because of his qualifications, including his being a Distinguished UP Alumnus Awardee and a Presidential Lingkod Bayan Awardee.

He said that at the State U, unlike in CatSU, one does not apply to become president; he or she has to be nominated and pass through a stringent screening process.

Azanza stressed that he has been nominated three times at UP in the past and failed, perhaps thanks to the chair of the selection committee who vowed that the Catanduanes native will never be UP president for as long as he/she was there.

He also applied for SUC president four times and succeeded on his fourth try, at the university where his father was president decades earlier.

Now, whether he would succeed on his fourth nomination at UP remains to be seen.

The last time he tried at UP, he and fellow nominees Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Education Secretary Leonor Briones and DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral lost to Federico Pascual, who is now DTI Secretary.

Azanza is in good company, even if he lost in three previous tries. Who knows if he also makes it on his 5th try as nominee for UP presidency, just like what happened on his 5th attempt to bag an SUC presidency? Would Lady Luck grant him his wish on his 9th overall?

This time, the betting is on an insider, UP Diliman Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo, the son of former UP President Francisco Nemenzo Jr. who failed three times before finally getting the BOR’s nod.

As he said, everyone should just wait and see what happens.

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