Sunday, September 26News That Matters

Why this mother rejected a UP scholarship for her valedictorian son

Josephine Anne Lapira, 22, a University of the Philippines (UP) Manila student, died in what the authorities reported as an encounter between New People’s Army members and government forces in Batangas province on the evening of Nov. 28, 2017.

Josephine Anne Lapira

September 26, 2017 – Southern Leyte | Sometimes, parents cannot be blamed for their unorthodox decisions especially when they experienced something that changed their lives. This is what happened to the family of Elsa Torreblanca, a public school teacher, widow, and mother of four.

Elsa’s husband Mario, was killed by suspected members of the New People’s Army in Sogod, Southern Leyte, in September 2000.

Mario was a farmer and was suspected by the group as a military asset. The group later claimed his death, but evidence of his link to the military was never been proven.

Two months after Mario’s death, Elsa delivered their youngest and only son, Peter. Elsa’s life became miserable until his oldest daughter finished college and got a job in 2007.

Last March 2017, Peter graduated high school as valedictorian. He took the admission test at UP and placed fourth. The prestigious school offered him full scholar, but Elsa’s reaction shocked the whole family.

Peter planned to take accounting as he wanted to become a CPA lawyer someday.

When Peter took the entrance exam at UP Manila in February, Elsa did not comment, but when the result went out, the 55-year old teacher told his only son to go to Siliman University,  where he’s also offered full scholar, instead of UP.

Elsa’s reason is simple. She don’t want Peter to get influenced by UP activists – the same people who killed Peter’s father and her husband.

Based on Elsa’s information, the leader of the NPA group who kidnapped Mario was a former activist from UP Diliman who was an undergraduate and went to become an active NPA commander in Leyte.

Elsa despises all activists, and UP, as the main school for most activists, is no place for Peter as per Elsa’s decision.

Although Peter is not active in activism, a mother’s heart is hard to change.

Elsa’s other reason is that UP did not place in the top ten on the latest BAR exam, while Siliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental got two spots on top 10.

Peter will be studying BS in accountancy, and once he becomes a CPA he will study law according to plan.

“The day that these UP activists-turned NPA abducted my husband is still fresh on my mind. I don’t want my son to be badly influenced by these people. Activism has no place in my family, much more communism”, Elsa said.

“Every time I watch UP students protesting on the streets, I can only imagine how miserable are their parents would be”, Elsa added. /Michael Campus/

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