The Ateneo de Manila University administration's religious stand on controversial issues, particularly the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill and mining, seem to have soured the school's ties with its top supporter.
"[I] believe we have come to the irretrievable point where it is best and appropriate to draw the line in the sand, to conclude that we have little or no common interest..." media and telecommunications magnate Manny Pangilinan said in a letter to Ateneo President Jose Ramon Villarin.
"[I]’d look like a fool helping an institution which opposes my conviction diametrically and unequivocally," Pangilinan said.
The chair of the TV 5 Network, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Philex Mining Corp., among other firms, was reacting to an Ateneo position paper dubbed the "Jesuit Paper."
The letter was posted online "with the author's permission" by Denis Lucindo, Philex vice president for business development.
One of the "logical consequences" of the falling-out, Pangilinan said, is that he and Ateneo can pursue their advocacies "freely without having to be sensitive with regard each other's feelings."
Another is his "complete and total disengagement from the Ateneo," something which he said he welcomes "with some relief at this stage."
This, as Pangilinan noted two previous "gruesome incidents" which dented his relationship with his alma mater.
These are accusations that his speech before Ateneo graduates in 2010 was copied from speeches of Hollywood actors plagiarism and his recent mining confrontation with business rival Gina Lopez.
Pangilinan also highlighted his "major concerns" about the "Jesuit paper."
"I do not agree with some of the CBCP’s pronouncements, including its recent stance on the RH Bill," Pangilinan said.
"At times, I believe the CBCP has taken positions contrary to the interest of our country," he added.
Pangilinan's statement comes after some members of the Ateneo faculty clashed with an administration statement opposing the RH bill in Congress.
Pangilinan also stessed the value of mining for the country's economic development.
"For the Church to say otherwise contradicts a very basic document of our people and frustrates the people’s constitutional will, values, and preference--plus the right to improve economic welfare..." Pangilinan told Villarin.
He also hit the "Jesuit paper" for suggesting that "a particular business is per se evil" if its relations with the government give rise to corrupt practices or other problems.
"It is man's frailty--Filipino frailty to be exact--that should be blamed, not the business," Pangilinan said.
While noting that "good mining practices" abound, he added: "[T]he Filipino’s failure to manage well is shown in almost all facets of our lives--poor airports, poor sewerage, unclean air, mediocre economic growth."
"The list is long. Our preponderant task as a people is simply to do better--to strive for excellence. Isn't that the Ateneo motto?" Pangilinan said.
He added that the "Jesuit Paper" shows "EO 79 (Executive Order 79, on mining) and the Implementing Rules and Regulations."
"In any event, to the extent that the terms of the Paper are non-negotiable, and do run contrary to what our laws and Constitution say and to what I believe in... this makes it difficult for my conscience to accept the Paper as currently drafted," Pangilinan said.
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