Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Volume IV,  Number 22              July 4 - 10, 2004            Quezon City, Philippines


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UPLB Chancellor Meddles in School Paper Exam Anew

In a liberal institution such as the University of the Philippines (UP), known for the independence of its student publications and councils, it seems unbelievable at first that a high-ranking school official meddles into student concerns as vital as the student publication. 


LOS BAñOS, Laguna — In a liberal institution such as the University of the Philippines (UP), known for the independence of its student publications and councils, it seems unbelievable at first that a high-ranking school official meddles into student concerns like the campus publication. 

The UPLB Perspective has had a long tradition of militancy, dating from the time of the Marcos dictatorship. Today, according to UP students, it confronts another enemy.

For the second time, Wilfredo P. David, chancellor of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños, intervened in the selection of the editor in chief (EIC) of the UPLB Perspective, a group of students and writers told Bulatlat.com.

Violating the Revised Rules and Regulations Governing the Publication of UPLB Perspective, they said, David arbitrarily changed the grading system and appointed as EIC the second placer in the editorial examinations.

In 2002, the chair of the Selection Committee devised a new grading scheme upon David’s notice of the ‘statistical anomaly’ in the scores of two contenders.  He did this without consulting the other members of the Committee and thus, altered the Committee’s original choice for the editorship. 

According to the rules, “The candidate obtaining the highest average in the editorial examination shall be recommended to be the editor of the UPLB Perspective.”  The criteria stated are as follows:  editorial writing, 40 percent; news writing, 30 percent; front page layout, 15 percent; and, interview, 15 percent.

Niña Catherine Calleja, former associate editor of the Perspective, topped the exams with a grade of 2.830.  Katrina Ross Tan, meanwhile, obtained 2.905 and Aileen Macalintal placed third with 3.395.  The Committee submitted the results last April 5 and recommended Calleja to the Chancellor to be the next EIC.


A month later, however, David has not yet appointed Calleja.  Instead, David accused as biased Bon Andrey Queaño, one of the student representatives in the Selection Committee and who disagreed with David’s decision. The Chancellor added that Calleja should be disqualified for using “end marks.” 

Again, David imposed a new grading system, that of canceling the extreme grades (highest and lowest) of the examinees.  Based on the system, Tan emerged as the topnotcher and Calleja was relegated to the second place. 

On May 12, David appointed Tan as the EIC of the student publication.


David argued Calleja is undeserving for the EIC post.  He cited an “unforgivable error” committed by the examinee.  In the news writing category, Calleja mistook the name of Isidro Camacho to be Jose Camacho. The latter is the resource person for the news writing category.

Camacho himself, however, did not give too much weight on the error.  In Camacho’s discretion, Calleja ranked fourth among the eight examinees in the news category.                               

Ironically, David himself committed a similar error.  In his appointment letter for Tan, he wrote Katherine instead of Katrina, the Bulatlat.source said.


In a statement, Queaño deemed he was bypassed by his co-members in the Selection Committee in their abrupt decision to change the original recommendation.

Queaño said he was not even informed of the meeting on May 10 where the Committee decided to adopt David’s grading system.

Queaño related that Dr. Milagros Peralta, chair of the Selection Committee, was pressuring him to sign the second recommendation a day before David appointed Tan. Queaño refused saying that using end marks is not a ground for disqualification. 

The student representative asked, “Sino kaya sa amin ni David ang biased samantalang siya ang nakakita nang sabay sa mga pangalan at grado ng examinees at pagkaraa’y dali-daling diniktahan ang komite na baguhin ang grading system na itinakda nito?” (Between David and I, who is biased given that he was the one who saw the names of the examinees alongside their grades and then dictated the Committee to revise the grading system the latter decided to use?) 


In a primer, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines–Southern Tagalog deems David’s action as discriminatory to critical student journalists. Calleja, as former news editor of the Perspective, wrote articles on protest actions by students and faculty members against David.

Among the issues hurled against the chancellor were: non-recognition of student organizations which participated in a Protest Fair in 2001; the banning of upperclassmen from staying in the dormitories; suspension of 10 students including some officers of the University Student Council.

In an interview with Bulatlat.com, CEGP National President Jose Cosido tagged David as “one of the most rabid enemies of campus press freedom” for infringing upon the editorial and fiscal autonomy of the Perspective. 

Last year, David called for a referendum as a prerequisite in approving the proposed budget of the Perspective. Bulatlat.com 

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