Updated 21:59 PM PHT Wed, April 19, 2017
(CNN Philippines, April 19) — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday that he would not accept the honorary doctorate degree that the University of Philippines was intending to confer on him.
"With due respect sa [to] University of the Philippines, I do not accept - even when I was mayor. Hindi ako tumatanggap [I don't accept]," Duterte said during a chance interview in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.
Duterte maintained that it was a matter of personal and official policy for him to decline the award.
"To use the word reject is not good. I simply declined," Duterte added.
A resolution by the U.P. Board of Regents (BOR) on April 6, stated the motion to confer the honoris causa to the President was initiated by Senator Regent Francis Escudero.
Escudero has denied making the motion.
"I did not move but I did not object when it was proposed, given that it is a UP tradition that Philippine heads of state (including the Chief Justice and Senate President) are OFFERED honorary degrees when they are invited to be a commencement speaker (which is also a UP tradition)," Escudero said in a statement.
The Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture chairperson has also reminded the public that it would be up to Duterte if he would accept the award, stating that the honorary degree was not given unilaterally.
The hashtag #DuterteNotWorthy went viral on social media yesterday after netizens raised a howl over awarding the degree to the President.
Posts on Facebook and Twitter said U.P. will take "a major step backward" in upholding its tradition of "honor and excellence" if Duterte would be honored with the award.