EIGHTY-THREE Southwestern University (SWU) students, 23 of them medicine graduates last year, are caught in the crossfire between two SWU schools.
The students will file charges against the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) 7, which they accused of being biased.
Ched 7 Director Freddie Bernal denied the allegation.
One of the contending schools, SWU-Phinma in Barangay Sambag I, wants Ched cited in contempt, saying the commission defied orders of the Office of the President (OP).
The other school is SWU-Mham (Matias H. Aznar II Memorial College of Medicine) located in Barangay Capitol Site.
SWU-Phinma chairman of the board and president Dr. Chito Salazar, his vice president for external and legal affairs Godwin Denzil Manginsay, university officials, student body member Jake Vera and student body officers held a press conference yesterday.
Salazar said the Ched en banc issued two resolutions in 2014 recognizing SWU-Mham and giving it the right to run the university.
On Aug. 13, 2015, he said, the OP issued a stay order holding in abeyance the implementation of all Ched en banc resolutions until issues between the two schools are resolved.
But Salazar said Ched refused to heed the OP’s order by not issuing a special order (SO) to 23 medicine graduates last year and certificates of eligibility to 60 foreign students of SWU-Phinma.
Ched asked the OP last September to reconsider its stay order, but Menardo Guevarra, OP deputy executive secretary for legal affairs, denied its motion.
“Failure to comply with the orders of this office or attempts to circumvent the same shall be meted with the appropriate administrative sanctions,” read Guevarra’s resolution.
“We will abide by the OP order, which denied our motion for reconsideration, as we will wait instructions from our Ched central office,” said Bernal. He said his regional office only implements orders of their central office.
But still Ched did not issue SOs and certificates of eligibility to foreign students, said Jake Vicera. They worried that the Bureau of Immigration might penalize the students for overstaying.
“Ched clearly violated the rights of students,” Vicera said.
Vicera sought the help of the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas, who wrote a letter to Bernal.
“May we be informed of actions taken relative to the 03 December 2015 follow-up letter of Mr. Jake Vicera for the issuance of 1) special order of April 2015 graduates; 2) certification or endorsement for foreign medical students; 3) letter to Worldwide Medical School directory to include SWU in the directory of medical schools?” wrote Julita Calderon, acting director for public assistance bureau of the Ombudsman, to Bernal last January 12, 2015.
Sought for reaction, Bernal said the non-issuance of SO is due to non-compliance of the medical students of their rotation duties and to the discrepancies of a medical student’s grades who failed in SWU-Mham but passed in SWU-Phinma.
He said SWU-Phinma students have a wrong perception of Ched.