Press Release
September 27, 2006


Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago today filed a Resolution calling for an investigation of the standoff between the editorial board of the Philippine Collegian and the University of the Philippines administration that has resulted in the discontinued publication of the Collegian.

The Collegian has failed to publish its weekly issue for a month now allegedly due to the refusal of UP officials to release its printing funds. UP officials reportedly insist that a public bidding for the selection of a printing press for the Collegian be held first before any publication funds can be released.

According to the senator, she filed the Resolution because she is very interested in the fate of the Collegian. Santiago was the first female editor in chief of the Collegian in 1968. The chief of her media bureau, Jeanie Bacong, was also an editor in chief of the Collegian.

As Collegian editor in chief, Santiago objected to Philippine military participation in the war in Vietnam, and exposed UP involvement with the Dow Chemical Company in Vietnam-related chemical weapons research. Based on purloined university documents given to her secretly "in the dead of night," her editorial, "Dow is Here," revealed that the company had leased research facilities at the UP College of Agriculture at Los Baos. The editorial was reprinted verbatim in a popular Manila daily. Embarrassed, then UP President Carlos Romulo tried to persuade her to reveal her midnight source, but she refused.

In her Resolution, Santiago said that given the clear policy of Republic Act No. 7079, or the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, to protect the freedom of the press at the campus level and to promote the development and growth of campus journalism in the country, the fiscal autonomy of student publications must be recognized and upheld.

At the same time, she said, disbursements of student publication funds must be made according to proper accounting and auditing guidelines to guard against corruption and misfeasance.

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