QC school to PAO: We did not defy CA
As far as Sto. Niño Parochial School (SNPS) is concerned, it has already complied with the court order to issue a certificate of good moral character to its former student, Krisel Mallari.
“There is no defiance [of] the Court of Appeals (CA) order. We issued the certificate. The [court] order did not dictate [to us] what to write,” SNPS’ lawyer Maritoni Renee Resurreccion told the Inquirer on Monday.
She was interviewed on the phone after the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), which is representing Mallari and her father, asked the appellate court to cite the school in Quezon City for indirect contempt for issuing a “sarcastic” certificate.
“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,” PAO Chief Persida Acosta said in the very urgent manifestation filed on Monday.
She asked the court to have the SNPS officials arrested until they comply with the court order.
For her part, Resurreccion stood firm on the school’s position that they had already complied with the court order.
Against our rights
“Now, if they will insist [on a certificate written] in the manner and substance they want, then maybe they should just take over our hands,” she said, adding, “It’s already against [the school officials’] liberty.”
In the certificate of good moral character signed on July 30 by SNPS principal Herminia Catud, the school said it was issuing the document to Mallari to comply with the court order although it was done with “reservation, under protest and with full intent to assail the legality, validity and authority of the Court of Appeals’ resolution.”
It also stressed that the certificate was “contrary to its assessment, evaluation and belief.” The two-page document went on to cite the case filed by Mallari in a lower court which, the school noted, was denied after hearing both sides.
“The Court of Appeals, on the other hand, without notice and hearing, issued ex parte, a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction in violation of the rules of court, which therefore makes the resolution void, with all due respect,” the certificate added.
According to Acosta, Mallari submitted the certificate last Friday to the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) where she wants to enroll. A UST official said the matter would be taken up by the university council Tuesday as Mallari missed the July 15 deadline for the submission of the document.
According to Acosta, the school’s notations on the certificate constituted “bad faith” and was intended to “block any future petitioner Krisel has with UST.”
She said there was no need for the school to include in the document the history of Mallari’s case “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, [Catud] gives the appearance of being sarcastic in her certification—an affront against the authority of this Honorable Court,” she added.
Acosta noted that the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the appellate court 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,” she said.
“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 told the court in her manifestation.
The PAO chief said the respondents remained accountable for indirect contempt under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court and must explain their actions.
She also asked the court to issue an order to jail the respondents until its order is complied with, citing Section 8 of Rule 71 which states: “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.”
Mallari, who graduated from SNPS in March as the batch’s salutatorian, generated controversy when she alluded to an anomaly in the computation of her grades in her speech.
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