Court allows PUP president to keep post for now
Score round 1 in favor of the sitting president of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).
A judge on Tuesday granted PUP president Dante Guevarra’s motion to stop the university board of regents (BOR) from replacing him.
Judge Silvino Pampilo of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 granted Guevarra’s petition for a writ of preliminary injunction, effectively stopping the BOR from implementing a resolution dated July 4, which appointed Edicio de la Torre as officer in charge at the end of Guevarra’s four-year-old term on July 5.
“The parties are ordered to maintain the status quo ante wherein the petitioner continues to act as PUP president in a holdover capacity,” Pampilo said in his order.
The order will remain “in full force and effect” until the court issues a new one, the judge added.
The motion for a writ of preliminary injunction [a court order that requires an individual to perform, or prohibits him from performing, a particular act] was filed by Guevarra on July 5 in which he sought the nullification of the BOR resolution.
In his petition, Guevarra alleged that the BOR resolution violated the Higher Modernization Act of 1997 as it did not follow the proper procedures in the search for a new PUP president.
Among others, Guevarra said the BOR failed to convene a search committee and consult students, and overlooked his right to be re-evaluated for another term.
“When the incumbent president expresses his desire for reappointment… only after [he] is found to be qualified and eligible per standards set by the board may they exercise their discretion either to proceed with the search… or do away with the conduct of the search,” Guevarra, through his counsel, said in his petition.
Pampilo, to back his decision to keep Guevarra in his post for the meantime, cited the need to keep order in the university.
Students have expressed their opposition to the BOR resolution through the conduct of campus protests and class walkouts in the past month.
“Evidence on records as well as testimonies of witnesses show that the students will resort to concerted protest actions to signify their dissatisfaction [over] the decision of the BOR. To prevent further damage, the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction will be necessary to maintain the last peaceable situation that preceded the controversy,” the judge said.