Manila students’ guardians seek to overturn DepEd order on PTA posts
Miffed guardians of students in Manila schools have asked the city’s regional trial courts (RTCs) to nullify a Department of Education (DepEd) order effectively barring them from being officers of their respective parent-teacher associations (PTAs).
On September 6, 26 PTA presidents filed with a Manila RTC a petition for an injunction and temporary restraining order against DepEd Order No. 83, series of 2010, which amends the PTA elections guidelines to read that only parents and “court-appointed guardians” are qualified to be officers.
Education Secretary Armin Lustro’s order redefined “guardians” to specify “court-appointed guardians,” explaining that “only court-appointed guardians provide competent evidence of guardianship with genuine and ascertainable authority and responsibility to function as substitute parents of their student wards.”
In compliance, Manila schools division superintendent Ponciano Menguito issued on August 23 Circular No. 56 to implement the DepEd order. “All schools whose homeroom PTA presidents are not parents or court-appointed guardians must relinquish their positions and the vice president shall assume the position of the PTA president. In the event that both the PTA president and vice president are also not parents or court-appointed guardians, an election for the office of the homeroom PTA president and vice president shall be held,” Menguito ordered.
The petitioners asked the courts to overturn the order and circular, stating that they were “arbitrary, capricious and oppressive. It was “an injustice against those guardians who cannot afford to avail of the court proceedings,” the petitioners argued.
All 26 petitioners are not court-appointed guardians but were able to produce affidavits from their wards’ parents affirming their legal guardianship of the children.
Most of them were simply relatives of parents who could either not financially sustain their children, or were abroad or in the provinces.
The petitioners were Margie M. Mendoza, Roberto R. Asilo, Edna M. Simon, Maricel S. Pacoma, Benedicto R. Rodriguez, Ceasar O. Pamplona Jr., Racquel A. Lacanilao, Milagros Z. Bardelas, Federico T. Arebuabo Jr., Anderson G. Nazal, Robert D. Matutino, Dionisio F. Bautista, Felipe G. Macapagal Jr., Emmanuel S. Galvez, Ernesto V. Bernardino, Gween A. Nicodemus, Vernita Ann N. Romano, Juanito S. de la Rosa, Noel S. Lacanilao, Carmen V. Ocampo, Domingo M. Jesoro, Nelson R. Rescate, Manuel D. Obligacion, Benedicto C. Alonzo, Vhong P. Alcala and Benjamin O. Canlas.
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