State U president shot dead in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The president of a state-run university here was gunned down by still unidentified armed men early Saturday morning, police said.

Police identified the victim as Ricardo Rotoras, 48, who was shot dead outside his home at Golden Glow North Subdivision in Barangay Carmen, this city, at around 1 a.m.

Rotoras is president of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) at the time of his death.

Police said Rotoras succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds in his body and was brought to the nearby JR Borja General Hospital by his driver, but was declared dead on arrival by attending physicians.

A witness told the police he saw people loitering near the Golden Glow North perimeter fence days before the shooting.

After the shooting, the witness added that he saw two men walking out of the subdivision and fled onboard a black pick-up truck.

Recovered from the crime scene were empty shells fired from a weapon believed to be a .45 caliber pistol.

Rotoras, who served as the head of the USTP since 2006, was also the president of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) for four consecutive terms.

Elected unopposed for the fourth time, Rotoras was supposed to end his two-year term as PASUC head in 2019.

“His unopposed re-election bespeaks of his excellent leadership, hard work, selfless dedication and commitment towards leveling up the standards of education in the country,” reads a portion of the article posted on the USTP’s website referring to his reelection as PASUC president.

It was during his stint as USTP president that the institution saw two major transformations, first from being declared as Mindanao University of Science and Technology (MUST) to its current status as the center of science and technology in Southern Philippines.

The conversion from MUST to USTP was realized by virtue of Republic Act 10919 through the amalgamation of the MUST and the Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology (MOSCAT) in Claveria, Misamis Oriental.

The school has also maintained its level IV status as State University (Highest Distinction), and was adjudged by the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management to be one of the 19 leading state universities in the country.

Rotoras was described as a “dedicated public servant” and “workaholic” by his colleagues.

USTP alumnae Alyssa Clenuar, in her post on social media, said Rotoras’ death was “a big loss to everyone” in the university and those that he had extended help in the past.

As of Saturday morning, police said they are still conducting investigation and follow-up operation. They have yet to establish the motive for the killing. Jigger Jerusalem/