A native of Marawi City and a graduate of the MSU main campus in Marawi, Muslim received his masters degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Political Science from the University of Hawaii as an East-West Center scholar.
The turnover ceremony will be held on Jan. 21 at the university’s main campus in Marawi. It will be presided by Commission on Higher Education Secretary Romulo Neri.
“I leave MSU with sadness because I have grown to regard you all as family and will surely miss you. I also leave it with joy and pride, knowing that I have given it my best shot; that I gave it all
that I am and have. Should our paths cross again in the future, rest assured that I hold the same affection in my heart. I thank you for giving me the highest title a University President dreams and wishes to achieve, to be endeared as ‘Daddy Pres’,” de Leon said to a group of MSU alumni.
The appointment of Muslim and the term of De Leon have been marked by controversy and disappointments.
De Leon, who holds a doctorate in police and security administration, was an unpopular choice for the post, not being an alumnus of MSU and not having passed through the search committee constituted by Malacanang. The search committee screened 21 candidates and its unanimous choice was Muslim. The two other nominees were Dr. Nasroden Guro, dean of the College of Public Affairs, and Dr. Abubakr Otinggue Mohammad Masnar, vice chancellor for research.
Critics said the appointment of a military man like De Leon in a non-military establishment such as MSU, was tantamount to militarization of the establishment.
But National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said de Leon’s appointment was necessary to “clean the mess” in the university brought about by supposed intervention of “warlords” in the selection process for the MSU presidency.
De Leon replaced Dr. Camar Umpa, whose term expired on September 1, 2005. He was supposed to have served only for six months to one year.
Muslim’s appointment was hailed by his supporters who said “he is the best man for the job” to “restore the lost academic excellence of MSU, especially of its main campus in Marawi City.”
“As a former university president, I am alarmed by this year’s dismal performance of our graduates in the engineering and nursing board examinations compared to the past years where we almost got 90 percent and above as board passers. The choosing of Muslim as president shall save the institution from further academic deterioration,” said Umpa.
The Mindanao State University was established in Marawi City on September 1, 1961 by virtue of Republic Act 1387.
Mindanao State University System is the only university in the Philippines with a special mandate of integrating the cultural communities, specially the Muslims into the mainstream of the nation's socio-cultural and political life by providing them with opportunities for quality and relevant public education for their self development and providing trained manpower skills and technical know-how for the economic development of the Mindanao, Sulu (Basilan and Tawi-Tawi) and Palawan region.
Mindanao State University System (MSUS) grew from one-campus University into a multi-campus University of seven (7) autonomous campuses and one (1) online campus, namely:
MSU Main Campus in Marawi City; MSU Iligan Institute of Technology in Iligan City; MSU Naawan in Naawan, Misamis Orietnal; MSU Tawi-Tawi College of Technology and Oceanography in Bongao, Tawi-tawi: MSU Sulu in Jolo, Sulu; MSU General Santos in South Cotabato; MSU Dinaig in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Shariff Kabunsuan; MSU Maigo School of Arts and Trade in Maigo, Lanao del Norte; and MSU Wisdom International Online. (Norodin M.Makalay/MindaNews)