PAO files contempt case vs Krisel Mallari’s school
The Public Attorney’s Office, representing Krisel Mallari and his father Ernesto asked the Court of Appeals, on Monday, to cite for indirect contempt and jail the officials of the Sto. Nino Parish School in Quezon City for failing to issue a proper certificate of good moral character to the high school graduate.
“A mere perusal of the so-called certificate of good moral character would reveal that the same is not in faithful compliance with this Honorable Court’s directive,” the PAO, through its chief Persida Acosta, said in an eight-page very urgent manifestation with reiteration of the motion of compliance filed last July 30.
The certificate was issued last July 30 by SNPS principal Herminida Catud. Acosta, however, said the school made a statement on the certificate that the document being issued “with reservation,” “under protest” and with “full intent to assail the legality, validity and authority” of the Court of Appeals.
The certificate also noted that there was a case filed with the lower court, which initially denied Mallari’s plea for the issuance of the certificate, and that the Court of Appeals, illegally ordered the issuance of the document without notice and hearing.
Mallari submitted the certificate to the University of Sto. Tomas, where she has intended to enroll, on July 31. The dean said the matter would be taken by the university council on Tuesday (Aug. 4).
“Hence, there is still uncertainty in her future with the UST; although the latter came to know of the fact that classes in the university will actually start on August 10, (August 3 being the freshmen orientation),” Acosta said.
Acosta said the school’s notations on the certificate constituted “bad faith” and were intended to “block any future petitioner Krisel has with UST.”
The PAO chief said there was no need state the history of case before the courts “for it is basic that a challenge against the same should be lodged in the proper forum and by availing of the proper remedy.”
“The respondents, through Principal Catud, did not content themselves with merely issuing a qualified certification, but one which blatantly questions the wisdom of this Honorable Court and attacks its integrity and credibility, in a manner so contemptuous in character. Furthermore..[she] gives the appearance of being sarcastic in her certification—an affront against the authority of this Honorable Court,” the PAO chief said.
Acosta noted that the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of Appeals last July 29 ordered SNPS and registrar Yolanda Casero to immediately release the certificate “in favor of Krisel.”
“No doubt, the respondents, through Principal Catud, displayed nothing less than their propensity to circumvent and resist any ruling to their disadvantage. This clearly demonstrates how stubborn the respondents are,” Acosta added.
“Clearly, the respondents made a mockery out of the lawful process of this Honorable Court. [They] owe the courts candor and must call a spade a spade… We cannot allow their wily ways to make a mockery of the justice system and render a final judgment empty. They should avail of remedies for their grievances in accordance with law,” Acosta said, citing jurisprudence.
The PAO also recalled that SNPS, through Casero, earlier affirmed that there was already a certificate for Krisel but it was on hold per the instruction of the school director.
“[This] implies that there is a valid and unqualified certificate available, but its release is put on hold. Thus, petitioner Krisel continues to suffer in the hands of the respondents–who appear to be vindictive and cruel guardians of their students,” the pleading stated.
The PAO said the respondents remained accountable for indirect contempt under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, and must explain their actions in accordance with the appeals court’s order.
The PAO also asked the court to issue an order to jail the respondents until full compliance with the court’s order, citing Section 8 of Rule 71, which stated: “When the contempt consists in the refusal or omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the respondent to perform, he may be imprisoned by order of the court concerned until he performs it.”
“Since (the) issuance of Krisel’s certificate is still within the power of the respondents to perform, respondent Mrs. Casero and respondent SNPS, through its top-level officials, may be ordered arrested until they comply with this Honorable Court’s directive,” Acosta said.
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