Editorial: Talisay City College row

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


For the controversial Paulus Cañete, one can say the shoe is on the other foot. This after Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes appointed him president of the Talisay City College (TCC).

Cañete identifies himself as president of another city-created educational institution, the Mandaue City College (MCC). He got that post from former Mandaue City mayor Thadeo Ouano, who was, however, succeeded by Jonas Cortes as the city’s top man in 2007.

That sparked what can be considered a “protracted war” over the MCC presidency, with Cortes appointing a new campus head, retired Department of Education (DepEd) official Susana Cabahug.

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Cañete refused to vacate the post and, when Cortes took over the MCC campus in
Barangay Ibabao, relocated his “MCC” to the premises of the Eversley Childs Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao.

A long-drawn court battle was waged between the Mandaue City Government-recognized MCC and Cañete’s MCC even as the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) officially recognized the former as the legitimate MCC. A status quo order is in place while the court has still to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, a leadership change took place in Talisay City in last year’s elections when JVR defeated former congressman Eduardo Gullas for the post of mayor. JVR replaced Socrates Fernandez who was already barred from running for the said position because of the three-term limit.

Before he relinquished his post, Fernandez appointed former city councilor Ritchel Bacaltos as TCC president. A few weeks ago, JVR ordered Bacaltos to vacate the post and appointed Cañete TCC president.

Bacaltos refused to relinquish the TCC presidency, telling JVR to convene first the Board of Trustees to formalize Cañete’s appointment. The mayor tightened the noose around Bacaltos’s neck, however. He is no longer getting a salary and his transactions
on behalf of the TCC are no longer be entertained by the city.

It is doubtful if Bacaltos can do a Cañete, which is to operate his own TCC. But what has happened to him proves once again the danger when politics intrude into the
running by a local government unit (LGU) of its own educational institution.

What happened in Mandaue City and now in Talisay City should prod those concerned to find ways to shield LGU-operated campuses from the constant shifts in the political setup in a locality.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 13, 2014.

Opinion

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