I am making this statement both in my capacity as Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Women’s University and as a person who has known Mr. Abunda in his professional capacity as media practitioner. Mr. Abunda holds the degree of bachelor of arts, major in communication arts, from PWU. He earned the degree under the CHED ETEEAP program which means Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program. Under this program, we evaluated college credits he earned from the Ateneo de Manila, the quality of his work experience and achievements in mass communication, and required him to take enrichment courses to qualify him for the degree under the rules and requirements of the Commission on Higher Education. He more than fulfilled the requirements and specifications of the program and was thus awarded the degree. Not content with earning his undergraduate degree, he has gone on to pursue postgraduate studies. He has earned a certificate from a seminar course in international relations and diplomacy from the PWU HZB School of International Relations and Diplomacy. He is currently working on his master of arts in communication. These are serious courses of study and his being a media personality does not give Mr. Abunda any preferential status. He has to earn his grades. He has to take his studies seriously. And he does. Perhaps more seriously than his peers because he well realizes that being in show business, some quarters may be skeptical of both his motivation and his ability. Mr. Abunda has also interviewed me in some of his programs, particularly Private Conversations which airs on television. He has impressed me with his insights and the quality of the research he undertakes to prepare for the program. He does not just show up and ask questions. He does his homework. He takes his job seriously. This may be why he is such a great success in media. People might tend to dismiss his ideas and work achievements lightly by virtue of his being a show business personality. They would be mistaken. Perhaps an indication of the kind of insight and appreciation that Mr. Abunda has about our society and its values is his declining to accept the position he is said to be being groomed for. By any standard, he is more than qualified. But, sensitive and sensible as he is, he may have realized that some people might raise a ruckus over the matter. He, therefore, wisely decided to decline. In declining, Mr. Abunda may have realized that incoming President Benigno Aquino III has more important issues and problems to attend to. The President-elect’s energies should be devoted to these; not to defending Mr. Abunda’s proposed appointment to the cabinet. The controversy over his appointment is therefore one problem or situation that presumptive President Aquino will not have to deal with. By that much Mr. Abunda has shown how sincere he is about helping the incoming administration succeed. And he is all the more admirable because of it.

DR. HELENA Z BENITEZ Board Chairperson The Philippine Women’s University

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