29 March 2007
Appeared in the 30 March 2007 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin
“The longer the candidate stayed in college, presumably the better prepared that candidate is to face policy issues in the Senate,” she said.
The feisty senator released to media a list of senatoriables, ranked by number of years spent in college.
“Sadly, among the candidates, there are no honor graduates from the University of the Philippines law school, which used to be a hallmark of the Senate in the past,” said Santiago who, with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, is one of only two UP law honor graduates in the present Senate.
Santiago herself graduated twice with honors from the University of the Philippines, and finished her law doctorate at the University of Michigan, as a DeWitt Fellow and a Barbour Scholar.
Santiago said her list of educated senators is headed by candidates who spent some 10 years in college, each of whom finished law in UP and a master’s degree in the US.
The three highest educated are: Edgardo Angara, Master of Laws, University of Michigan; Francis Escudero, Master of Laws, Georgetown University; and Francis Pangilinan, Master of Public Administration, Harvard University.
The candidates who finished 10 years are followed by candidates who finished nine years in college, of which there are four: Joker Arroyo, Bachelor of Laws, UP; Jamalul Kiram III, Bachelor of Laws, MLQU; Alan Cayetano, Bachelor of Laws, Ateneo University; and Aquilino Pimentel III, Bachelor of Laws, UP.
The next category consists of the candidates who did five years of college, by finishing a bachelor’s course, followed by a master’s degree, of which there are seven candidates: Michael Defensor, Master in Public Administration, UP; Teresa Oreta, Master of National Security Administration, National Defense College of the Philippines; Ralph Recto, Master in Public Administration, UP; Loren Legarda, Master in National Security Administration, NDCP; Sonia Roco, Master in Communication Arts, Ateneo University; Antonio Trillanes III, Master in Public Administration, UP; and Manuel Villar, Jr., Master in Business Administration, UP.
The greater majority come last in the list because they finished a bachelor’s degree, or some four years of college, of which there are 10 candidates: Vicente Magsaysay, BS Commerce, Letran College; Cesar Montano, BS Commerce, Letran College; Prospero Pichay, BS Commerce, De La Salle University; Luis Singson, BS Commerce, Letran College; Vicente Sotto III, AB English, Letran College; Juan Miguel Zubiri, BS Agricultural Management, UP Los Baños; Benigno Aquino III, BS Economics, Ateneo University; Anna Dominique Coseteng, AB Journalism, St. Louis University; Panfilo Lacson, BS, Philippine Military Academy; and John Osmeña, BS Mechanical Engineering, San Carlos University.
Santiago said her list does not consider short courses, because usually they involve less than a year in college, adding that in her own resume she describes as “postdoctoral studies” short courses that she has taken at Oxford, Harvard, Stanford, University of California in Berkley, the Academy of Public International Law at The Hague, Holland, etc.
The senator also qualified her list by pointing out that some candidates’ resumes do not show if they finished the required thesis for graduate school, or merely finished the academic units required, in which case they are only candidates for the graduate degree.
“I’m not even sure if some candidates actually received their bachelor’s degrees, or merely took some courses and then dropped out from college,” said the senator.
Santiago added that if there will be charter change this year, she will propose a minimum educational requirement for all elective candidates for public office, beginning with the President, down to barangay chair.