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QC salutatorian allowed to enroll in UST

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – More than two weeks after deadline, the University of Santo Tomas accepted Krisel Mallari's submission of her certificate of good moral character, allowing her to enroll in the university's accountancy program where she already reserved a slot.

Public Attorney's Office (PAO) chief Persida Acosta confirmed this to Rappler in a text message on Tuesday, August 4. 

"Justice prevailed for the best interest of the child," she added. 

Rappler first learned of Mallari's enrollment from official student publication The Varsitarian, which quoted UST College of Accountancy Dean Patricia Empleo as saying the student was accepted "on the merit of the credentials she presented."

University officials were supposed to meet Tuesday and discuss what to do with Mallari's late submission; the university gave her only until July 15 to submit her certificate. 

The Santo Niño Parochial School (SNPS) had refused to issue Mallari a certificate of good moral character after a tussle with her over her graduation speech. Mallari, salutatorian of Class 2015, had to go to court to compel the school to release the document.

Mallari made headlines in March after she delivered a speech that hinted at her school's lack of fairness. A video that went viral showed school officials cutting short her speech.

The school has since refused to issue Mallari a certificate of good moral character, until the Court of Appeals (CA) compelled it to do so on Wednesday, July 29. SNPS already issued the certificate but with reservations since its release was forced by the CA.

"We decided to comply, not to defy, regardless if we believe it's a void resolution, we complied but we have to state there that the certificate of good moral character was issued because of compulsion," Maritonie Resurreccion, the legal counsel of SNPS, told Rappler.

She said the school was surprised the appellate court granted Mallari's plea "without hearing our side."

Part of the reason why the school does not want to voluntarily issue the certificate is because Mallari supposedly lied to the public about not being shown her grades. Resurreccion said this affected the reputation and the name of the school.

For the school, releasing the certificate is tantamount to admitting that what Mallari and her family had said about the school was true.

"We will assail the [CA] resolution compelling us," Resurreccion said. 

UST's opening exercises for academic year 2015-2016 began on Monday, August 3. Activities on the first week of August will mostly be for college freshmen, while classes will officially begin on August 10. – Rappler.com

Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.

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