David Lapuz, CHED chair

David Lapuz: ‘One prodigious fountain spouting forth brilliant ideas’

ASIDE from Salvador Panelo, spokesperson of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte for a month, aspirant to be ambassador to the Court of St. James and now presidential legal counsel, another appointee of incoming president Rodrigo Duterte who is creating a different kind of buzz is David Lapuz as head of the Commission on Higher Education.

There is still a confusion on the appointment of Lapuz to the government agency that oversees public and private higher education institutions as well as degree-granting programs in all tertiary educational institutions in the country because while others say the position is co-terminus with the appointing authority, there are also those who say that the head of CHED has a fixed term and that of the current chair, Patricia Licuanan, is up to 2018.

The designation of Lapuz as CHED chair was first mentioned by Ateneo de Davao President Fr. Joel Tabora, S.J. In his blog more than a week ago.

According to an Inquirer report, Tabora related: “In fact, last Wednesday, June 8, at 2:30 a.m. in a room filled with people in the Panacan Malacañan of the South, President Duterte had publicly designated Professor Lapuz, long-time professor of political science and of the life and works of Jose Rizal at the Lyceum of the Philippines, CHED Chair. To the professor’s self-deprecating query, ‘Are you really nominating me CHED chair?’ the President replied emphatically, ‘Yes!’”

I have interactions with Lapuz through our twice –a- month lunches at Havana restaurant in Greenbelt started by the eminent writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil some years back. Mrs. Nakpil has not been active in those lunches these days and it’s her niece, artist Marivic Rufino, who carries on with keeping the group together.

I also meet Lapuz in events organized for the fellows of the International Visitors Program of the U.S. State Department.

What I noticed in those events is his abundant gift for words. He is one person who can talk for about 30 minutes, no period, no comma. That’s why in forums, moderators see to it that the microphone is given to Lapuz last because once he has it, it’s almost impossible to take it away from him.

His curriculum vitae is impressive. Be sure you have adequate time when you check it out (http://www.pcfr.info/prof-jose-david-lapuz1.html) because it’s quite lengthy.

A portion of his CV reads,”Lapuz finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of the Philippines and his post-graduate studies in International Politics and Foreign Policy at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He started teaching at University of Santo Tomas in 1970…

“He is one of the 45 member-commissioners of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM), on the Committee of Social and Human Sciences and is a member of the UNESCO Advisory Committee on Human Rights and Poverty based in Paris. He also teaches international relations and political science at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.”

‎The highly esteemed writer, Ofelia A. Dimalanta, in her review of one of the works of Lapuz, wrote: “Lapuz certainly has been one prodigous fountain spouting forth brilliant, fresh ideas and insights on sundry subjects particularly Rizal, foreign policy, international news and affairs, his formidable yield always rich, enriching, and boundless. “

Dimalanta further said, “In Lapuz’s lectures and speeches, he would display the force and irrepressible energy of Juvenal (Roman satirist) one moment and the next, the urban savoir-faire of Horace (Roman writer). Certainly, all this is best captured by the readers when they finally have all the time to read him and absorb the quality of his mind, a mind vividly alive and alert to catch every every flow and flux of the goings-on in the contemporary historico-political scene and beyond.”

How about those who had the privilege of having Lapuz as a teacher?

Two of his fomer students posted in Facebook:

Chris Cahilig shared some “Fun facts about Prof. Lapuz”.

  1. No. 1 requirement sa Rizal class nya ang pagsa-submit ng clippings ng kanyang published press releases sa broadsheets. The more creative ang pagkadikit sa bond paper, the higher your grade! So I embellished my clippings with fresh flowers straight from Dangwa kaya bongga lagi ang grade.
  2. . You can write anything sa essay tests nya and you’ll still get good grades. Walang checking ng sagot na nagaganap so ang iba will write prayers, poems, lyrics, love letters, or even bad words and never ka nya masisita. He’ll even make you fold your yellow pad up to 1/8 (or 1/16). Para saan, kebs lang.
  1. Makikilala mo sya ng husto sa buong sem dahil 90% ng discussion sa classroom ay tungkol sa kanya– his awards, his travels, his popular friends, and his talks. Sino nga naman ang interesado sa pambansang bayaning si Dr. Jose Rizal? Mas kapanapanabik ang kwento ng buhay nya noh!

Another student, Jojo Terencio, shared tips how to pass in Lapuz class:

“First order of the day, isubmit sa kanya ang mga paid photo and press releases about him. Pangalawa, bumili ng manila bulletin at basahin ang column nya. At isubmit na rin sa kanya. Sa prelims at finals, pahabaan ng essay kahit pasakan mo ng lyrics ng kanta o novena in between intro and conclusion di nya malalaman kasi di naman nagbabasa.


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