Jul 062014
Ateneo de Manila University president Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ apologized on Sunday amid criticism of the presence of former First Lady Imelda Marcos at an event for the school’s scholarship foundation.

The widow of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos attended the 40th anniversary celebration of the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation (ASF), where she was invited because the organization “began with a donation from the proceeds of a Van Cliburn piano concert that was organized by her in 1974.”

Photos of the event surfaced on social media.

Ateneo professor¬† Michael Liberatore expressed disappointment over Marcos’ presence in the event.

“Had a hard time sleeping after seeing picture of Imelda as the guest of honor at an Ateneo scholarship fund event,” wrote Liberatore on Sunday on a Facebook post, which was shared 88 times and garnered 488 likes as of 8:50 p.m., including from Xavier School president Ari Dy, SJ.

“Come tomorrow, I am supposed to return to school for the work week and participate in meetings and teach classes in which I strive with others to help our young people manifest values that our institution allegedly upholds in developing the nation? How can one possibly do this if Imelda is the guest of honor at a scholarship event under the rationale she helped start the fund before martial law?”

While noting that ASF was “not an official school arm,” Villarin acknowledged that Marcos’ presence at the event was a problem.

“Please know that in the education of our youth, the Ateneo de Manila will never forget the Martial Law years of oppression and injustice presided over by Mr. Ferdinand Marcos. We would not be catching up on nation building as we are today, had it not been for all that was destroyed during that terrible time,” said Villarin.

“I apologize for any doubts that may have arisen on the mission of the school and the pain this event may have caused. As I hope for your understanding, I would like to assure you that we in the administration have learned our lesson to be more mindful of those we invite to our celebrations.” – JST, GMA News

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