The University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman University Council (UC) has urged the Board of Regents (BOR) to ensure transparency and accountability in the appointment of officials within the university.

Citing the UP Charter of 2008 and its previous statements, the UC emphasized in a statement released on May 22 the importance of democratic principles such as collegiality, representation, accountability, and transparency.

“As the national university, we are called upon to embody honor and

excellence in all our endeavors and model the highest principles of democratic governance for our nation in these critical times,” it said.

“We must uphold democratic representation by giving genuine importance to sectoral voices; honor collegiality and meritocracy by submitting ourselves to the judgment of peers based on a common and agreed upon set of standards; and ensure transparency and accountability in all processes of governance,” the UC added.

The body also criticized what it said are inconsistencies in the implementation of search guidelines through the years. “The basis for appointing individuals has not always been clear, compromising in the process the principles of checks and balances and subsidiarity.”

Accordingly, the Council recommended several measures. These include the release of transparent criteria and strict adherence to standard implementing rules and regulations, the publication of search committee report highlights relevant to the appointment processes, the return to open sessions and open balloting, as opposed to executive sessions and secret balloting, and the disclosure of bases for appointing officials.

“Appointment-related recommendations at every stage should be publicized, including voting records and explanation of votes. In particular, the BOR as the highest decision-making body should document and disclose the justification together with each member’s vote,” it said.

“The information should be part of the official minutes and become part of the public domain. Any vote that can be defended on principle need not be hidden.”

Several UP professors emeriti and other faculty members have previously expressed their disappointment and concern over the selection of the new Chancellor of UP Diliman in an open letter addressed to UP President Angelo Jimenez on April 10.

The professors raised concerns about the perceived disregard for the “overwhelming sentiments and choice of the UP community” when the BOR selected Atty. Edgardo Carlo Vistan II over immediate past Chancellor Fidel Nemenzo.

In a public demonstration of their demand for democratic governance, some colleges such as the College of Arts and Letters, College of Education, College of Engineering, and College of Social Work and Community Development have adorned their buildings with black cloth.

With the Chancellor as Chairperson, the UC is composed of all faculty members in a constituent university of the University System holding the rank of assistant professor and higher.

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