Students go to court to stop PSBA shutdown
Invoking their right to complete their studies, students of the Philippine School of Business Administration (PSBA) in Quezon City sought the intervention of a local court to stop the scheduled closure of their campus this month.
They cited a 2004 Supreme Court ruling in which the high tribunal sided with a student who invoked “the reciprocity of a school-student contract.’’
“Petitioners have the unmistakable right to be afforded a fair opportunity to complete the course they enrolled in,” according to a petition filed Tuesday in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court by May Plet Paguio, Charlene Zape and Patrick Lloret.
The three petitioners, who said they were acting on behalf of some 4,000 students who would be affected by the closure, cited the case of Regino vs Pangasinan Colleges of Science and Technology, in which the SC ruled:
“The students expect that upon payment of tuition fees, satisfaction of the set academic standards, completion of academic requirements and observance of school rules and regulations, the school would reward them by recognizing their ‘completion’ of the course enrolled in.”
“Barring any violation of the rules on the part of the students, an institution of higher learning has a contractual obligation to afford its students a fair opportunity to complete the course they seek to pursue,” they quoted the high court as saying.
They also invoked a Constitutional provision: “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such declaration accessible to all.”
They claimed they were also entitled to “moral damages’’ of up to P1 million for the “mental anguish, sleepless nights, stress, serious social humiliation, inconvenience and demoralization” caused by the news of the closure.
In a Sept. 20 notice issued by PSBA board members, the school said it would no longer accept enrollees in the second semester but that students to be affected by the closure may transfer to PSBA’s Manila campus.
The petitioners doubt, however, if the Manila campus could accommodate a significant number of transferees from the QC branch.
The students also questioned the reason stated by PSBA Inc. for stopping operations, claiming the circumstances leading to that decision were “more of a personal nature’’ involving disputes within the school board “rather than financial losses.”
Named as respondents in the petition are Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chair Patricia Licuanan, CHED National Capital Region Director Catherine Castañeda, and PSBA Inc. stockholders Juan Lim, Ramon Peralta and Antonio Magtalas.
The petitioners were represented by counsel Ariel Inton, a PSBA alumnus.