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Jun 20, 2016
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Among the Cabinet appointees of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, one that stood out from the bunch was Professor Jose David Lapuz, who is set to become the new chair of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

Lapuz, who taught Duterte at the Lyceum of the Philippines, will reportedly replace the incumbent Patricia Licuanan. She took over the post in 2010 and was reappointed by Pres. Noynoy Aquino for a second four-year team, which ends in 2018.

The incoming chairperson graduated from the University of the Philippines, and continued his post-grad studies in International Politics and Foreign Policy at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. In 1970, he began his teaching career at the University of Santo Tomas, and currently is a professor at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.

One of the 45 member-commissioners of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM) on the Committee of Social and Human Sciences, Lapuz is also a member of the UNESCO Advisory Committee on Human Rights and Poverty. Under the administration of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, he was a board member and commissioner at the National Historical Society, aside from serving as the latter's consultant on international affairs.

Despite his rather impressive résumé, it seems Lapuz is drawing the wrong kind of attention with his impending delegation. Former students have been sharing anecdotes on the professor, a Jose Rizal expert. And most—if not all—of them are not amusing.

We collated the common curious tales about the new CHED chair, which, by the time you've finished reading this, will leave you dumbfounded with Digong's selection.

1) His primary requirement for each student was a compilation of his published press releases from broadsheets (Manila Bulletin, every Monday). That reportedly included reaction papers of his speeches and talks that Lapuz almost not checks. At the end of semester, he has everything bound and donated to the National Library of the Philippines.

2) If you still haven't noticed, Lapuz loves himself. Class discussions allegedly mostly revolve around his life (travels, awards, popular friends, etc.), and stories of him comparing himself to Rizal and thinking he also deserves the "Gatdula" title. His class is basically one big acquaintance party, where he is always the star of the night, if not for the occasional mention of the national hero's name.

There is also this story of him supposedly requiring the whole class to "take in" and analyze his huge portrait. Not Rizal, nor other prominent local figures, but an enormous depiction of his frickin' self. Not to mention the first day of the semester being dedicated to how he would like to be addressed, adding "Commissioner" to his original title of Professor.

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3) Essays and exams contained prayers, songs, short stories, even bad words. It's said that Lapuz barely reads his students' work. Some of his former students recall writing utter crap in their reports, which the professor demanded to be written in a yellow paper and folded to one-eight its size.

4) He is as eccentric as his fashion sense. One of his students wrote, "He wore terno gabardine pants and long-sleeved popcorn polo shirt," which even had a color scheme: Monday, red; Tuesday, reflector green; Wednesday, shocking orange; Thursday, canary yellow; and Friday, sky blue. The pattern, shared the student, stayed the same for his entire college life.

Meanwhile, all of his polo barongs allegedly have his initials (JDL) embroidered on them, which supposedly also stood for justice, democracy, and liberty. Usually, Lapuz had an attaché case at his right hand and golf umbrella at the other. Like Rizal, his hair was also parted—although his is in the middle—"with waves like the Anglican royalties."

5) He once had a whole class repair a television set. During one of his regular film viewing sessions (featuring his speaking engagements), the player and TV stopped working. This is what he asked his students to do:

"A couple of guys from the class were in front trying to fix it, while the rest of us, with nothing better to do, just continued to chat among ourselves. Mga 10-15 minutes na ang nakakalipas, ayaw pa rin gumana nung TV. Siguro nainis siya (Lapuz) because we weren't DEVASTATED that we couldn't watch his amazing video, kaya he exploded. Nagalit siya sa klase namin dahil nagdadaldalan lang kami (I guess he wanted us to wail in despair) at inutusan kaming LAHAT na tumayo at ayusin ang TV. And by LAHAT, I mean all 56 of us. So we all looked at each other, tipong, "Is this dude serious? Anong gagawin natin?" So, ano pa nga ba, at kami ay mga hamak na estudyante lamang? We all got up, placed our hands on the TV in silence, and stood there. Just stood there. Pinray-over namin yung TV, and the commissioner looked pleased. Pero na-realize niya siguro na mukhang tanga yung inutos niya so he asked us all to sit again. Then he promptly sulked."

 

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