MANILA, Philippines — Besieged Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) president Dante Guevarra isn’t going without a fight, but it seems the state university’s board of regents is just moving on without him.
In a phone interview, Guevarra told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that he has filed a motion for reconsideration with the Court of Appeals regarding a recent ruling overturning a preliminary injunction keeping him in his post.
This, even as the state university’s board of regents (BOR) has appointed an officer-in-charge to replace him after his term was supposed to lapse on July 5.
As far as the PUP board of regents was concerned, pending legal proceedings, the school “no longer recognizes [Guevarra] as the President,” new OIC Estelita de la Rosa said, in a phone interview.
PUP student regent and BOR member Rommel Aguilar backed this, saying the student body has accepted De la Rosa as OIC, as she has been a familiar figure to the student body. She once served as the Board of Regents secretary. Aguilar said the state university should “move on” from the battle over the administration to address pressing issues such as its budget.
But Guevarra said, “If the Court of Appeals junks our motion, we will appeal it with the Supreme Court.”
He further pointed out that the Manila Regional Trial Courts would continue hearing his motion, which asked the court to nullify the naming of his replacement, saying it violated the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997, especially on procedures in searching for the new PUP president.
He has also filed a contempt case against De la Rosa and BOR chair Patricia Licuanan.
Guevarra said he has been going to office as PUP president every day. De la Rosa, however said, he no longer had functions or even a salary. According to De la Rosa, offices now recognize her directives.
Meanwhile, Aguilar said the students have not been too concerned with “the issue of who is president.”
De la Rosa said the appellate court’s ruling validated her appointment as OIC because “the preliminary injunction was not valid.” Aguilar noted that before the CA ruling, students would submit letters to both the OIC and the President. Now they only coordinate with the OIC.
“We should respect the rule of law and the courts. When the preliminary injunction was issued by the Manila courts, we respected it. In the same way, we follow the Court of Appeals ruling now,” Aguilar said.
He said the students opposed the BOR ruling before when it was appointing as OIC Edicio de la Torre, who they “simply did not like.”
“We need to move on. Let’s try to normalize now and fix what needs to be fixed, proceed with our work. Life goes on. Whoever is President doesn’t matter anyway if there is no budget for education,” Aguilar quipped.