Group delays filing of SC petition against tuition hikes

MANILA -- Party-list group Kabataan moved to Tuesday next week the filing of a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to stop the implementation of higher tuition in some universities and colleges.

The group was supposed to file the petition on Friday to nullify the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Memorandum 3 issued last year but it opted to wait for the official release of the list of schools that will be allowed to hike tuition for school year 2013-2014.

"We want to include the Ched memorandum as one of the basis for our petition in the SC, so we’ll wait for the Ched en banc decision (on Monday)," said Kabataan president Terry Ridon.

Originally, 451 colleges and universities applied for tuition increase in the coming academic year, but Ched regional offices only forwarded 344 applications to the Ched main office.

Ridon said next week's announcement will be "purely ceremonial" since schools can cite portions of CMO 3 to justify their collection of new and higher fees even without Ched approval.

Section 9.1 of CMO 3 states "should the Chedro (regional office) fail to act within 30 days from the filing of application but in no case later than April 15 of the same calendar year the intended increase shall be implemented, would mean (sic) that the Chedro has no objection to the said application."

"In essence, the proposals are already pre-approved and Ched has once again served as a mere stamp pad to these increases," said Ridon, who hit the CMO 3 for failing to qualify as "reasonable supervision and regulation" as stated in Article XIV, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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