President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday politely declined to accept the offer of an honorary degree from the University of the Philippines (UP), saying that accepting awards is not in his personality.
“With due respect sa University of the Philippines, I do not accept even when I was mayor. Hindi ako tumatanggap, I do not… As a matter of personal and official policy, I do not accept awards. Wala sa pagkatao ko,” the President told reporters following the ASEAN security briefing in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.
“Hindi ko naman nire-reject. But I… To use the word reject is not good. I simply declined,” Duterte said.
The UP Board of Regents (BOR), the university’s highest policy making body, is reportedly keen on conferring Duterte the honorary doctor of laws degree as part of tradition.
However, some sectors are opposing the move due to alleged human rights violations in the campaign against drugs.
Earlier, Malacañang said that President Duterte was not angling for any awards but might accept the honorary degree if offered.
Following the development, Duterte became the third president to decline the conferment.
Former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo have both declined honorary degrees from UP.