Dr. Ricardo E. Rotoras, 50, President of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) and University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) was ambushed and killed last December 2, 2017 outside his home at Golden Glow North Subdivision, Cagayan de Oro City at around 1:00 am.
Dr. Rotoras obtained 8 gunshots from a caliber .45 pistol that eventually took his life. His driver said that they came from a party at a local hotel and when they arrived home, Dr. Rotoras got out first because the driver was yet to properly park the car but while doing it, he heard gunshots and was stunned how near the sound was.
He then found Dr. Rotoras’ body on the ground and rushed him to a nearby hospital where the PASUC President was declared dead.
Dr. Rotoras served as the President of University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) for 11 years. He was also elected four times as the president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC).
Rumors circulating in the city say that the reason for killing him was because of jealousy as he was unopposed for his titles for years. According to his family, he began receiving death threats the time when he was re-elected as the President for PASUC but Dr. Rotoras didn’t really believe the threats would transpire. The reason why he did not hire personal guards.
Family, friends, students, and politicians were stunned by his untimely death. He is considered to be one of the best contributors of positive change to the country, especially in the academic field.
Senator Pimentel, who is from the city urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to exhaust all efforts to arrest the killers. “Unmask their mastermind” as what he labeled as a “dastardly act.”
“I am alarmed and outraged by this latest attack on our law-abiding and dedicated public servants. I urge the police to work double time to arrest the killers and unmask the mastermind” –Senator Pimentel
“We are a peace-loving society and killings of this nature must be stopped. The police must do its job to protect and secure the people against rogue elements of society,” he added.
Senator Aquino and Senator Pangilinan also urged the authorities “to leave no stone unturned” to make sure that the killers will be punished for their “deplorable act.”
“We worked closely with him for the passage of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act as president of Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC). His untimely death is a great loss to the country’s push for quality education for every Filipino,” -Senator Aquino and Senator Pangilinan
Senator Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on education is also saddened to hear the news. He said that Rotoras’ astounding efforts in improving the education system in the country should not be forgotten.
Mayor Oscar Moreno, Cagayan de Oro City, considers Dr. Rotoras as a “friend, and a true partner in bringing Cagayan de Oro to greater heights”. He committed to give justice to Dr. Rotoras and aired giving a P1, 000,000 bounty “For anyone who could bring any information regarding the perpetrators – – and sa mastermind. Most likely, this crime has its mastermind, because the operation was professionally done, it was out of the ordinary.”
The City Mayor also expressed his displeasure of Dr. Rotoras’ death as he is considered to be one of the city’s front liners and helped the city gain its astounding remarks in the country.
“Cagayan de Oro has been modeled by other cities, since it was declared that we are one of the most livable cities, and this setup was designed by the USTP, under Dr. Rotoras’ watch,” he said.
USTP staff, teachers, and students also conveyed their displeasure of the unexpected death of their President and expressed their sympathies to the bereaved family of Dr. Rotoras.
They wore black shirts during the mass devoted to Dr. Rotoras last Monday, December 4, 2017, in the gymnasium and flooded the social media; crying for justice for their University President. They also conducted a prayer rally and lighted candles in front of the University during the night.
A lot of the school’s alumni students were also stunned by the news and posted on Facebook how great Dr. Rotoras was. Many former student leaders in the University also howl for justice.
Felichi Marie Cinco Aloyon, a former Supreme Student Council president, and an alumna expressed that Dr. Rotoras was an inspiration to all of the student leaders in the University.
“He made us feel like we are home. He made us feel proud of our Alma Mater and of what we were doing! Proudly MUSTeans! I personally still still cannot accept! My heart still breaks. We lost a father! We cry for justice! An unsung hero in Cagayan de Oro. Rest in Peace Sir Rotoras.” –Aloyon further expressed.
(Mindanao University of Science and Technology – MUST was the former name of the school)
Buildings inside the campus will also display a black cloth as a sign of bereavement.
“I join the academe in mourning the death of Dr. Rotoras, whose efforts to help improve the country’s higher education system will not be forgotten. His untimely passing is a great loss not only to his family, friends, and colleagues but to the whole higher education sector as well“ –Senator Chiz Escudero
Everyone shares the same sentiment as Dr. Rotoras’ death is a “great loss” to the country.