Students win: Court stops PSBA-QC closure
MANILA, Philippines – After more than a month filled with prayer rallies and court hearings, students finally got the answer they had wanted: the Philippine School of Business Administration-Quezon City (PSBA-QC) will not close down.
In a decision on Thursday, November 7, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 104 granted the students' plea for a writ of preliminary injunction on the notice of closure issued by the school's board of directors and stockholders on September 20.
Unless the court dissolves the injunction, it will remain in effect, thus indefinitely preventing the closure of the school and all its educational programs.
"Hopefully maayos nila 'yung corporate squabble, [pero ang] importante dito the right to education prevailed over corporate interest," legal counsel for PSBA-QC students Antonio Enrile Inton Jr told Rappler in a phone interview.
(Hopefully they can fix the corporate squabble, but the important thing here is that the right to education prevailed over corporate interest.)
The decision came just before the expiration of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the court.
On October 10, 3 student groups filed a case to prevent the school's closure. The move was triggered by the administration's continuous publication of the notice in newspapers, and the Commission on Higher Education's "irresponsible statements" on the issue.
The court granted the TRO on October 17 – to the relief of about 4,000 students and hundreds of employees of PSBA-QC. The order prohibited the implementation of the contents of the notice of closure only for a maximum of 20 days.
Inton said the defense could not prove in the hearings their claim of financial losses – one of the reasons cited to justify the closure.
He said the defense even withdrew its evidence of financial statements meant supposedly to prove that losses were indeed incurred by the school. "Duda ko dun, di nila kayang patunayan 'yung losses. Ready kami to refute that claim (I doubt that they can prove the losses. We're ready to refute that claim)."
Instead, the defense argued on technicalities. During a hearing on October 25, they asked for the dismissal of the case after the respondents failed to file on time a P200,000 cash bond as ordered by the court.
Under Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, an applicant for injunction must file a bond that shall pay for the damages that the other party may sustain if the the court finds the applicant not entitled to the writ.
Inton, however, argued – and was able to convince the court – that it was the fault of the bonding company for not processing their request immediately.
They also told the court last week that the Manila campus of PSBA had no occupancy permit. The board ealier said students may transfer to PSBA-Manila upon the closure of the Quezon City campus.
"The judge saw the students' point, that it really is damaging for the school to close down," Inton said in a mix of English and Filipino. (READ: Uncertainties for students, teachers amid PSBA-QC board war)
He said the students do not mind who is sitting as school president as long as the school is kept running. After all, the numerous cases filed by the board members against each other only show their fight is far from over.
"You can fight each other inside the board room, but never threaten [to close] the school," he said. – Rappler.com