Continuing the conversation with Migi Moreno

At the start of this school year, I jokingly asked Jose Miguel “Migi” V. Moreno if I could follow him for a day, from sunrise to sunset, even through bathroom breaks and meals, and make an article out of it. Surprisingly, without a second thought, he obliged. “Just tell me when,” he said warmly.

That article never happened, but on this late Friday afternoon, I ambush him; and with that same complacent tone, he obliges. Never mind that he’s just coming from a meeting with our Editor in Chief, that he has another meeting scheduled later in the day, and that he played basketball a few hours before. Nothing about him betrays a hint of fatigue, and he’s willing to make time.

He was actually waiting for this interview, he tells me, indicating that he had not forgotten our talk from long ago. So read on as I sit down with the current USG President Migi Moreno to continue that conversation.



“If you were in a bar fight and you had to choose three (Lasallian) Brothers to back you up, who would it be?” I ask.

His first pick is Br. Richie Yap, a “big” and “tough” guy according to him. Second pick, Br. Ricky, a strategist to assess the situation. Last would be Br. Arian, to lighten up the mood. “Parang (may) manghihirit na ‘sige, go lang,’ kahit sobrang seryoso na,” he adds with a laugh.

“Of course, mananalo kami,” he says with confidence.

Who would win a Hunger Games scenario with the current Executive Board of the USG?

“Ako, syempre,” he again says with confidence, before admitting he never got to watch the movie. I have to make a reference to the much older Battle Royale before he can explain his answer: he’d probably hide first while letting the others fight it out. Only after his last opponent was too tired to fight would he come out and take on the last one.

How about a basketball game with Carlo Inocencio and Kayne Litonjua?

“Definitely me, of course. Hands down. Beat them any day, man,” he answers as if it were already obvious.

On the topic of basketball, he says his game resembles that of his favorite Green Archer, LA Revilla. “I do my best to play smart, and try to be the floor general whenever I play.”


Talking about work

He says the best moment of his presidency so far is his LPEP speech. “Because I got to talk to the entire freshman batch of DLSU and give them my two cents of DLSU,” he explains.

“Destiny’s not a matter of chance, rather destiny’s a matter of choice,” he told them. “And I also pretty much gave them a challenge of leading themselves towards the direction of where they want to go and have that enthusiasm to keep striving for it, simply because what you do today will dictate what will become of us tomorrow.”

One of his biggest regrets is how he wasn’t able to manage the Office of the President (OPRES) to people’s expectations because of the focus he put on the USG elected offices and the theme of one USG.

When asked to cite the biggest problem in the University, he says it’s coordination. “People don’t know what each one is doing. And because of that, people don’t know how each one can actually help one another in terms of how best we can maximize and utilize the different resources we already have.”

However, he does think he’s made some progress. “It’s a gradual process for me to actually ensure that I completely have achieved, at least in my own standards, the fullness of how I really want to contribute to those issues.”

When I ask him if he’s aware of the DLSU Secret Files Facebook page, a community-driven site that publishes anonymous testimonies, he answers yes and seems to know what’s coming.

I bring up a month-old post-turned-tirade against Migi, one that gathered a lot of attention, and he takes it in stride. “It’s a valid criticism. If that’s how that person perceived my presidency, then of course I would respect it. But I hope he would also have the guts to talk to me about it, so I can also share with him what are the things that’s been going on.”

It’s not the first time he’s received this type of criticism, as he hears these things from secondhand sources.


Life beyond the presidency

What Migi misses most from being a regular student is his alone time. He misses not having people look at him wherever and just being a regular student who people pass by. It’s still a little weird for him having everyone know him.

He does still find time for himself, however.

“I make it a point to make time for, most importantly, my family of course, and definitely with the things I love doing, basketball, (and) reading books as well. During the year it wasn’t as often as how I wanted it, but, say in a week, I get to do it at least once, so I guess that’s something.”

His favorite book, something he read in high school, is called Twelfth Angel by Og Mandino.

Migi expects to graduate in June, but he’s still unsure on what he’ll be doing after.

“After college, it’s either law school or I take graduate studies in political psychology or work first so it’s pretty much still an open book for me right now.”

I ask him about the silliest thing he’s done in college, and it takes him a while to answer it. This question appears to be the hardest one for him yet.

“Ang good boy ko pala,” he says. “My concept kasi when I went here (in DLSU), I have to be my best.” Eventually, he manages to come up with going to Plato (a bar in Sherwood) and staying there until three in the morning.

After giving it some more thought, he finds an answer he’s satisfied with, something he did in his freshmen year.

“I,” he hesitates a little, “I gave gifts anonymously to this girl I liked…” He did it twice, he says. He’s not sure, however, if she ever found out. Needless to say, nothing ever came out of it.


A few messages

If he could give a message to the next president, he would say, “Just be yourself.

“I think the students would want a president who is genuine, who is real, who is sincere to them whenever they would get to come across them. I couldn’t really gauge and measure if I was able to be successful in that, but at least I know for myself I have been trying to do my best in that.”

“If you could say anything to the students, what would it be?” I ask.

“I’d take a more existential line of thinking here… don’t forget to ask the reason why, of the things you do, ‘cause I’m sure it’s these purposes that would actually motivate you to actually really give you that extra push to move forward to where you want to go. But again, going back to what I said earlier, at the end of the day it’s gonna be your choice as to where to go, as to what you wanna do, so you just have to make sure that you’re also convicted with that choice.”

John Sarao

By John Sarao

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