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CA affirms CHED’s order to close down ‘rogue’ version of Mandaue City College

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) order for the closure of the “rogue school” operated by Paulus Cañete under the name of the Mandaue City College (MCC).

In a recent 25-page decision, the CA 6th Division denied Cañete’s appeal on the April 25, 2016 ruling of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 216 to sustain the CHED’s orders.

Cañete, whose tenure as administrator was marred by alleged irregularities, was ordered by the MCC board of trustees (BOT) to step down in June 2007. Yet, he continued to operate his own school separate from that administered by BOT-appointed caretaker Susana Cabahug.

The CHED issued its closure order against Cañete’s MCC on December 3, 2010. On July 4, 2011, it issued a notice to the public that advised students to transfer to legitimate institutions.

The CA said the CHED “did not err” in ordering the closure of Cañete’s MCC, describing it as a “rogue school, without valid authority to operate from the BOT.”

The court also noted that the Mandaue City council refused to recognize Cañete’s school and directed the city legal office to prevent anyone from misuing the MCC’s name.

Likewise, the Civil Serivce Commission (CSC) denied Cañete’s claim for the payment of his employees’ salaries because they were not validly appointed by the city government.

The CA also rejected Cañete’s contention that the CHED’s power regarding the closure of schools was merely recommendary. It noted that Section 3 of the Higher Education Act of 1994 made CHED an independent body that can act on its own in exercising its regulatory powers.

“Therefore, in the absence of any local or corporate charter, the school operated by Dr. Cañete under the name of MCC remains unincorporated and non-existent, not endowed with a distinct personality of its own,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Rafael Antonio Santos.

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