Lawyers file complaint vs. UP Manila officials
(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines - Two lawyers, both alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP), filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman on Friday, March 22 against two UP Manila officials over the death of freshman student Kristel Tejada.
Lawyers Rudyard Avila and Argee Guevarra filed a complaint against UP Manila Chancellor Manuel Agulto and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Marie Josephine de Luna for overzealously enforcing a university policy banning late tuition payment. They alleged that the policy resulted in undue injury to Tejada.
Tejada allegedly committed suicide on March 15.
The two lawyers slammed the university policy, saying that it defeats the state university's objective of providing quality education for all.
Avila said that the memorandum was a "betrayal of the UP Charter's declared policy of promoting, nurturing and protecting the right of its students to accessible and quality education."
Guevarra added that the university's decision to lift the policy last Wednesday, March 20, was "too little too late."
The complainants challenged the interpretation of the UP Manila administration of Article 330 of the UP Univesity Code which stipulates that "no student who has not duly matriculated shall be admitted to classes."
Avila and Guevarra pointed out that the article did not equate the provision with a payment of a sum of money, in contrast to the practice upheld by the UP Manila campus.
Although the UP Manila administration already denied culpability and allegations regarding the “no late payment” policy, the complainants insisted that the October 23 memorandum issued by de Luna “left them [the faculty] with no choice under her Memorandum but to strictly follow her orders.”
The complainants, however, made no mention of a prayer for an investigation into the matter. The law does allow the Ombudsman to conduct her own investigation, with or without a complaint.
As of press time, the UP Manila administration has not yet received an official copy of the complaint. They said they support the creation of a fact-finding body to probe administrative issues surrounding the case. - Rappler.com
Below is an unofficial copy of the complaint sent to Rappler: