SOME Barug Team Rama councilors said the Asian College of Technology International Education Foundation (ACTIEF) should not hold the scholars’ credentials, pending the City’s payment for its P135-million obligation.
Councilor Jose Daluz III said the school should not hostage the students by not releasing their credentials because the City has yet to pay them.
Councilor Joy Augustus Young said that about 3,200 scholars have been enrolled in ACTIEF since 2015 and 75 percent of them failed to get their credentials due to the City’s failure to pay their tuition.
Then mayor Michael Rama withheld the payment, pending a petition for declaratory relief that the City filed against ACTIEF in court.
The City filed the civil petition to determine if the law would allow it to pay ACTIEF because of the legal impediment that Cebu City South District Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa was facing.
The anti-graft office had found Abellanosa, then a city councilor, liable for conflict of interest. He was the trustee and president of ACTIEF when the school entered into an agreement with the City for a scholarship program in 2011. “Abellanosa is making politics out of the students. There is no contract between the students and the school, the contract there is between the school and the City. As long as the students give their certificate of scholarship and the school accepted it they should not withhold their credentials, Daluz said.
When sought for comment, Abellanosa said the Supreme Court has affirmed the decision of the Sandiganbayan that no offense has been committed. “The city scholars, their parents and families will always remember ex-mayor Rama, Daluz, and their Team Rama cohorts have consistently blocked the resolution of the scholars’ predicament for their own selfish political ends,” Abellanosa said.
For his part, Councilor Raymond Garcia said he has no problem with the compromise agreement as long as it will not give the City additional liability.
“As long as the City will not be held liable for paying the school, then personally, I don’t see any problem,” he said. (RVC)