PUP board sues Manila judges
The Board of Regents (BOR) of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP)—represented by the Office of the Solicitor General—asked the Court of Appeals Thursday to stop the implementation of a lower court order that would allow incumbent PUP president Dante Guevarra to stay in his post indefinitely.
In its petition, the board asked the appellate court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Silvino Pampilo of Branch 26, who granted on Monday Guevarra’s motion to stop the BOR from replacing him.
Pampilo’s ruling effectively prevented the board 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.
Last week, the BOR also filed administrative charges with the Supreme Court against Pampilo and Manila RTC Executive Judge Amor Reyes.
In a press statement, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and PUP BOR chairperson Patricia Licuanan said they filed the charges against the two judges following their issuance of TROs that prevented De la Torre from taking over as acting PUP president.
Reyes had granted a 72-hour TRO, which Pampilo extended by 17 days. On Monday, Pampilo granted Guevarra’s motion for a writ of preliminary injunction [a court order which requires an individual to perform, or prohibits him from performing, a particular act] which, in effect, would allow him to remain in his post unless the court were to order him to step down.
Pampilo justified his ruling by citing the need to keep order in the university.
Guevarra claimed that the board violated the Higher Modernization Act of 1997 by not following the proper procedures in the search for a new PUP president.
The BOR, however, denied this, saying: “Based on his own self-assessment criteria which Guevarra submitted, the committee objectively evaluated his work [for] the past four years and did not issue a unanimous endorsement. The board adopted the findings and recommendation of the [evaluation] committee and did not approve a new term for Guevarra.”
De la Torre would only have replaced Guevarra while a two-month search for a new president was ongoing.
CHED legal office director Carmelita Sison said in a phone interview that they filed the administrative cases against the Manila judges for “abuse of discretion.”
Ms. Sison added that Pampilo’s decisions on the case set a bad precedent for other state university presidents who wanted to “cling to power.”