‘HOMETOWN REASON’: University defends hiring Mrs. Marcos in law faculty

WVSU President Dr. Joselito Villaruz and First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

The president of the West Visayas State University (WVSU) on Friday defended the recruitment of First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos as an instructor in their College of Law, after backlash erupted online from within and outside of the university.

WVSU President Dr. Joselito Villaruz told Bombo Radyo Iloilo that the first lady applied as part-time faculty in the Juris Doctor program through their regular process by submitting her documents for evaluation and processing.

Villaruz said the university accepted applicants based on their credentials and teaching qualities, regardless of their physical appearance, social status, or political positions.

He likewise inferred that Mrs. Marcos chose the university because of her roots in the region. Her mother, Milagros Ledesma Cacho, hails from Iloilo and Negros Occidental, while her father, Manuel Araneta Jr. is a native of Iloilo City.

“The university is open to faculty applicants, and we accept applicants based on their credentials and qualifications. Perhaps Mrs. Marcos chose [WVSU] not only because it is a big, prestigious university, but also probably the reason why she applied to teach [is that] her roots are from Iloilo also. Maybe she realized that she wanted to give back to her hometown,” Villaruz said.

Villaruz said that the university administration anticipated the backlash from students, faculty, alumni, and other critics of the Marcos family because of the current political climate, especially in the 2022 elections.

Except in Aklan and Bacolod City, former vice president Leni Robredo defeated President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in Western Visayas in the May 2022 presidential race.

“The Marcoses at the university level are not very popular. But the university as an academic center, […] it should remain apolitical, so we shouldn’t give color. We have a system of hiring faculty members and we based that on merit, credentials, teaching experience, and professional experience. It is open to all, we do not pick who we want to accept,” Villaruz said.

“In our merit and selection plan, we indicated that regardless of age, color, political affiliation, or beliefs, we cannot deny an application just because the applicant has a different belief,” he added.

Mrs. Marcos will be teaching Criminal Law 1 at the WVSU College of Law for incoming freshmen students starting August 15.