UST students apparently trolled Facebook, slammed RH bill for `extra grades´

RH BillMedia organizations are starting to give attention to an incident that is related to the proposed reproductive health bill but is somehow becoming a separate issue itself, which I think, needs to be properly addressed—the act by a UST professor who allegedly “motivated” his students to troll the Facebook page of Akbayan Youth and spam it with anti-RH bill posts for “bonus points.”

How it was discovered

In a blog post dated February 18, the party list group alleged that certain UST teachers reportedly gave “voluntary and optional” assignments to students “to refute the pro-RH position of Akbayan on its Facebook page in exchange for extra grades.”

“Akbayan Youth welcomes the posts made in the spirit of open and respectful debate. However, beyond objecting to the manner of some of these posts, we lament the manner on how the students were motivated to register their “opposition” to the RH bill,” Akbayan said in a statement.

UST Prof “admits” motivating students to post anti-RH comments on Akbayan's Facebook page

On Sunday, February 20, 2011, Aguedo Florence A. Jalin Jr., a Theology professor of the University of Santo Tomas' Institute of Religion, posted a comment on the party-list’s blog.

Here is the content of the letter as posted by Professor Jalin on Akbayan Youth’s blog:
I am the professor of theology you are referring in your lengthy discourse about certain professors. And the classes you categorically named were my classes. First, I appreciate with much intense your effort in analyzing the efforts we have done. It only proved we, my students and I, have achieved what we are dearly hoping – to bring across the message of opposition to: 1) the “valentine’s day activity” your group decided to take up and 2) the RHBill.

Indeed, it takes a lot of time to put into the foreground what you wanted- to have safe sex and the passing of the Bill, that you have to go out and meet everyone and give them pabaon (…condom).

The messages you have received were not “ill-informed stances” as you have succinctly termed. Instead they were designed to show consistency of thoughts. My students and I are simply echoing the very contents of Circular No. 2010-31 issued on 26 July 2010 by His Emminence Bishop nereo P. Odchimar, DD, the president of CBCP. This document is the CBCP’s Pastoral Exhortation on Proposed Bills on Sex Education and Reproductive Health which highlights the need to SECURE OUR MORAL HERITAGE: TOWARDS A MORAL SOCIETY. The Letter mentioned two timeless and simple but profound truths:

1. At the foundation of moral society is a central religious truth- our divine origin and our divinely-given identity as persons, and

2. Real corruption is moral and spiritual corruption. The rejection or disregard of morality and religious belief is at the core of corruption. Moral and spiritual corruption breeds its kind in other spheres of life- political, social, and economic.

In the academic world, we carefully mold and filter the knowledge we impart because that is part of our Code of Ethics as rabbi. We guide our students toward the narrow-road which is the road-less-traveled. Even the giving of incentive(s) is an age-old system that originated with the birthing of Universities and other Educational Institutions. Great thinkers like St. Thomas Aquinas came to be primarily due to their mentors who did everything to open their minds with the societal affairs.

With regard to your invitation for a debate, allow me to make a comparison. In the olden times, duel or in our term ‘square tayo” was the best manifestation of manhood but now, being a provider and a true father to your family or respecting and not hurting women are manifestations manhood and of being a real man. Debate, as you and I fully know, showcases arrogance more than clarity of the issue. This is what is clear to me –we both know where we stand.

And if the 2 bishops (Bishop Bastes and Bishop Odchimar) mentioned in the Philippine Star News, Friday, February 4, 2011,p.8, explicitly stated: “We bishops are willing to be imprisoned together with our priests and protest the immoral things “, then I will express the same mind- imprison me and my students.

As Thomasians we commit ourselves to the cause of truth. Thank you for your time, I am Sir Agui.
Akbayan sees it as the teacher's formal admission that he, indeed, “motivated” his students to post “anti-RH sentiments” on its fan page.

This is definitely a potential debate material. I wonder what actions will UST and the Church do regarding this issue?

What’s your take on this?