CA stops parents from joining case

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


THE parents and the two graduates of St. Theresa’s College (STC) Cebu failed in their bid to reverse the lower court’s ruling disallowing them from intervening in the damage suit against the school.

This, after the Court of Appeals (CA) 18th Division dismissed for lack of merit the petition for certiorari filed by the parents’ lawyer Cornelio Mercado.

They had asked the appeals court to set aside Judge Silvestre Maamo Jr.’s order junking the parents’ civil action that seeks to claim damages from the school for barring the graduates from their graduation rites in March 2012.

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“The intervention sought by petitioners had no more leg to stand on because of the dismissal of the principal action for injunction and damages,” read the CA’s decision penned by Associate Justice Renato Francisco with the concurrence of Associate Justices Associate Justices Pamela Ann Abellla-Maxino and Gabriel Ingles.

Judge Maamo also denied the motion for reconsideration filed by two STC alumni who sought P1.5 million in damages from the school.

Barred

The case stemmed STC’s decision banning five graduates from attending their graduation rites on March 29, 2012 for violating a school rule that prohibits wearing of skimpy attire.

The girls’ photos were posted on their Facebook accounts. Four of the five graduates later filed a civil case in court and sought for issuance of a court order to stop the school from enforcing the sanction.

When the school defied the temporary restraining order, which allowed the graduates to march, three of the graduates filed an amended complaint with motion for intervention.

The petitioners sought P1.5 million as moral, nominal and exemplary damages, including attorney’s fees. They also demanded a public apology from school officials.

The school lawyers denied it defied the court order and argued that Judge Wilfredo Navarro had no jurisdiction over the case.

Compromise

Of the four girls who filed the petition against STC, two of them later withdrew from the case by signing a compromise agreement with the school. The school administration, in exchange, waived all its counterclaims “in the spirit of Christian reconciliation.”

The other two alumni went ahead with the damage suit.

In the decision, the justices ruled that petitioners failed to prove that the trial court abused its discretion when it rejected the parents’ petition to intervene.

The justices noted that the petitioners’ interest in the case is “not direct in character” because it could not be so it could not determine how the intervention would affect them.

The CA decision stated that Judge Maamo could not be faulted when he denied the petitioners’ intervention since the main case was withdrawn by the original petitioners and deemed terminated via a judgment by compromise.

“Since the RTC correctly ruled that the motion is no longer proper in view of the dismissal of the principal action, the amended complaint would likewise not prosper and must be dismissed,” the appeals court ruled.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 30, 2014.

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