A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
by Dr. Edgar G. Agustilo
Former Dean, College of Education
Mandaue City College (MCC) is a Higher Education Institution established for the poor and deserving students who are seeking for a place in the sun, mostly graduates from Mandaue City’s barangay high schools, but have no access to education in mainstream public and private colleges or universities. Its charter, City Ordinance No, 10-2005-324A, “An Ordinance Establishing Mandaue City College and Authorizing the Appropriation of Funds Therefore” was enacted by the 10th SP on September 27, 2005 as amended by Ordinance 419, S. 2007 in the 11th SP. Sadly however, since the establishment of MCC in 2005 up to this writing, the subsidy of P5,000,000 from the Mandaue City has not been released, now amounting to P20,000,000. Yet the College continued its operation in spite of lack of funding from the LGU due to the refusal of Mayor JONAS C. CORTES to release funds. Thus, it is practically dependent upon the meager fees collected from students (P100 per unit), the reason why teachers are paid in a piecemeal which is hard to come by.
The changing winds and shifting sands of ugly politics reared its ugly head when former Mayor Thadeo Z. Ouano was replaced by Acting Mayor Amadeo Seno, Jr. who convened the unauthorized Board of Trustees (BOT), which excluded the seven (7) duly constituted members per Ordinance 324-A led by the President and BOT Vice-Chairman, Dr. Paulus Mariae L. Cañete. Acting Mayor Seno, Jr.:
- ordered all positions vacant to pave the way for their replacement by the incoming Mayor Jonas C. Cortes
- passed Resolutions 10 and 12 ordering Dr. P.M.L. Cañete to cease and desist from functioning as President, and appointed Dr. Susana B. Cabahug, Officer in Charge/Caretaker of MCC
- issued an infamous memo of June 28, 2007, and sent truckloads of PNP SWAT teams to serve this to academically free professors whose appointment were permanent under the law, treating them armed criminals, terrorists, and lawless elements.
MCC President, Dr. Paulus Mariae L. Cañete had no recourse but to go to Court for the annulment for these resolutions with an application for a TRO and Injunction at the Mandaue City RTC Branch 28 docketed as MAN 5673 on June 18, 2007. While the Court was still deliberating on the case, Mayor Jonas C. Cortes with lawyers Briccio C. Boholst and Omar Redula with a team of PNP SWAT in tow, demanded the turnover of MCC Administration to Dr. Susana B. Cabahug on August 2, 2007. Unable to take over MCC, Mayor Jonas C. Cortes created an unauthorized extension campus during the second semester 2007-2008 or October 2007 housed at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex calling it the new Mandaue City College contrary to law and ordinance. The Mandaue City SP issued:
- Resolution 164, s. 2007 “Declaring as Without Basis and Outside the Purview of the ‘Mandaue City College’ the Operation of an Unauthorized Extension of Classes at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex and Cautioning the Parents and the Students from Enrolling Thereat to Avoid the Hassles of Securing Transfer Credentials and Other Documents that Only a Legitimate School can Provide.”
- Resolution 611, s. 2007 “Supporting the Legitimate Mandaue City College Established by Ordinance No. 10-2005-324-A and Expressing Disfavor of the SP over the Recent Acts Taken by the Board of Trustees that Have Not Been Constituted in Accordance with the Said Ordinance.”
Mayor Jonas C. Cortes and Dr. Susana B. Cabahug defied Ordinance 324A and SP Resolutions 164 and 611, S. 2005 and 2007 respectively. An unauthorized MCC extension campus started operating in 2nd semester 2007-2008 illegally. Meanwhile, Ordinance 419, S. 2007, also known as “AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CERTAIN SECTIONS OF ORDINANCE NO 10-2005-324, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE MANDAUE CITY COLLEGE ORDINANCE” was approved on November 27, 2007 with its publication taking effect in January 2008. Mayor Jonas C. Cortes find it very difficult to accept that MCC is neither a department of the City Hall nor under his control and supervision since both the old and the new ordinances, he is not the automatic Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The administration of the College is exercised by its President, Dr. Paulus Mariae L. Cañete whose term of office under the law is fixed to six (6) years as confirmed by the duly-constituted BOT. Mayor Jonas C. Cortes cannot accept that is not an automatic chairman of the BOT. The chairman is elected by the members of the BOT. Likewise he cannot accept the fact that MCC is not a department of the Mandaue City Hall nor the accomplished fact that the control and supervision of MCC do not rest in his hands. Both the old and the amended ordinances provide that the administration of the College is vested in the President. In fact, on January 7, 2008, the duly-constituted Board of Trustees convened to elect its Chairman as mandated by Ordinance 419, as amended. All members of the BOT were served notices of the said meeting and elected Hon. Romulo P. Echavez, Jr. as Chairman. Mayor Jonas C. Cortes did not attend that meeting. While a fellow member nominated him to the post, he lost to Hon. ECHAVEZ, Jr. a prominent businessman. All previous resolutions of the unauthorized Board of Trustees were repealed by unanimous decision especially the infamous Resolution Nos. 10, 12, and the June 28, 2007 memo of Mayor Ading Seno on January 5, 2008 by the duly constituted BOT under the amended ordinance. This BOT meets regularly once a moth thereafter.
In utter disrespect for the Court, which has still to deliberate on the lower court’s dismissal of the above-mentioned petition received last January 2008 now lodged before the Court of Appeals, Mayor Jonas C. Cortes barricaded MCC in the midnight of April 17, 2008. Without first securing from the court of WRIT OF EXECUTION or an ORDER to execute the decision pending appeal, contrary to law and the ordinance, Mayor Jonas Cortes caused the PNP SWAT accompanied by his own men from the Janitorial and Security Services Unit (JASSU) to barricaded MCC disrupt classes, and prevented students, faculty, staff, administrator, parents and the general public from entering the college. The following day, Friday, April 18, 2008 the legitimate MCC Administrators, Faculty, Staff and Students were prohibited from entering Mandaue City College without an ORDER from the COURT or Mayor Jonas Cortes. All MCC documents which Mayor Jonas Cortes wanted turned-over to Dr. Susana B. Cabahug earlier were holed-up in the city-owned ITED Bldg., its main campus under the pretext of an inventory when in fact, there was no such written order from him.
We abhor the Mayor’s inventory ploy and in protest thereof, formally informed him that we are neither recognizing his chairmanship in the unconstituted BOT nor his self-appointed MCC OIC-Caretaker, without the Deputy Ombudsman Visayas even as some of the staff and students went to recover their personal belongings but were not allowed to make their own listing of things inventoried. In that building are school improvements, school records of students, mini-library, nursing skills laboratory or min-hospital and accessories like human anatomy and physiology models, beds, personal properties of students like CHN bags, students’ underwears, shoes, uniforms and also personal property of the faculty and staff, such as class records, books, etc. which neither the city nor the Mayor owns but MCC and personnel, of which the Mayor has not contributed, by April 19, 2008 school officials sent SOS MCC to the President Action Center-Office of the President, Malacañang Palace thru Secretary Eduardo Ermita; Rep. George Arnaiz, Chair, House Committee on Local Government, and the regional DILG to intervene but was referred to the Ombudsman Visayas. The latter brokered to stay in the middle but as of this writing no help came except from that of Rep. Nerissa Soon-Ruiz, 6th District, Cebu, some SP members Hon. Biaño, Hon. Rosal, Hon. Borbajo, and the Hon. Vice-Mayor Fortuna while Rep. Ruiz paved the interim relocation of MCC to the DOH7-owned OPD Building, Eversley Child’s Sanitarium, Jagobiao, Mandaue City.
Finally on the 6th day after barricading MCC, the Mayor in a letter of Major Edmund Mabolo, Chief, Janitorial and Security Unit, this city ordered the latter not to allow any records, properties, and documents out of the premises unless authorized by him. This order is without legal basis since no law, Ordinance, or SP resolution authorizes the Mayor. In fact, college officials under Dr. Paulus Mariae L. Cañete filed USURPATION, ABUSE OF AUTHORITY and CONDUCTING OF UNBECOMING against Mayor Jonas Cortes and Dr. Susana B. Cabahug in the Ombudsman Visayas and other criminal actions on April 24 and 25, 2008 respectively. In the Absence of a lawful order from the court, law ordinance or SP resolution, what Mayor Jonas Cortes did was a naked display of the reign of terror, anarchy, lawlessness, disorder, and a cheap shot of covering up the unauthorized MCC to be consolidated with the legal MCC under Dr. Cañete, being authorized by law under Ordinance 324A, S. 2005 as amended by Ordinance 419, S. 2007.
In fact, the SP Passed Resolution 351, S. 2008 “A resolution Urging Dr. Susana B. Cab hug, Through the Office of the Mayor, to Cease and Desist from Further Exercising the Function of Caretaker/Officer In-Charge, MCC, in violation of (1) City Ordinance No. 10-2005-419, otherwise known as “The Mandaue City College Ordinance” (2) SP Resolution No. 11-164-2007 (3) SP Resolution No. 11-611-2007. On May 14, 2008 the SP passed Resolution 370, S. 2008, “Expressing the Sense of the SP that the Inventory by Mayor Jonas Cortes in his Capacity as Chairman of the Defunct Board of Trustees, on the Records, Equipment of MCC headed by Dr. Paulus Mariae L. Cañete is Ultra Vires.”
“Tyrants can take away our campus; threaten to close our college, but not our spirit and the will to move on.” It is to the various publics that Mandaue City College is crying by calling to mind what one of the most influential people of the world, John F. Kennedy, said: “Ask not what the government can do for you but ask yourself what you can do for the government.” The dream must live on. Long live, the original, legitimate and lawful Mandaue City College!
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