Erap orders PLM board to resign

Ramil Bajo, Rey Galupo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Acting on an internal squabble involving officials of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada ordered the entire Board of Regents (BOR) to submit their courtesy resignations within 72 hours from receiving a memorandum from him.

In the memorandum dated Sept. 10, Estrada said the operation of the university has been seriously damaged due to the disparities among the board members.

“You were not able to resolve the disparities in a reasonable period of time. In the interest of the university, its students, faculty, staff and alumni, I request your courtesy resignation,” Estrada’s memorandum stated.

The BOR is composed of lawyer Amado Valdez, chairman; lawyer Artemio Tuquero, vice chairman and university president; lawyer Renato dela Cruz; Adelaida Rodriguez-Magsaysay; lawyer Ramon Bagatsing Jr.; and professor Estrellita Bautista.

Documents obtained by The STAR showed that Estrada’s memorandum bears marginal notes next to the names of Valdez, Bagatsing and Bautista dated Sept. 10, indicating that the memorandum had been served to the three officials.

Toquero banned from school premises

A PLM source told The STAR that the trouble started after Toquero was charged for illegally appointing a certain Elena Cernias, reportedly a secretarial course graduate, as dean of the College of Management and Entrepreneurship and eventually dean of the Graduate School of Management despite lacking credentials.

“No one knows the relationship of the president (Toquero) to his appointee, but people are talking of Cernias’ ‘strong’ influence on him,” the source said.

Because of this and other charges, the BOR issued Resolution 3692 last Sept. 5, imposing a three-month suspension on Toquero, which was not served properly because “he told the messenger to say that the office of the president was closed,” the insider said.

This was followed by a memorandum issued by Carlos Carlos, PLM board secretary and legal counsel, advising all concerned in the university to only honor communications and directives signed by Toquero.

On Sept. 8, the office of the board secretary was found padlocked and the staff was told to report the following day.

Immediately, Valdez, who assumed the position of acting president, issued a directive putting Carlos under preventive suspension. However, the memorandum was not issued because Toquero ordered its confiscation.

On Sept. 9, Valdez issued a memorandum banning Toquero, Carlos and Roberto Rosales, acting vice president, from entering the university premises “to prevent the deterioration of the situation.”

He also temporarily closed down Toquero’s office.

Valdez said there was a “concerted effort to prevent the rule of law and the enforcement of Resolution 3692, adding confusion to the line of authority and disregarding policy adopted by the board.”

He also ordered the relief of Fe Cawit, chief of the university security and replaced her with Hanifredo Balquin. Sources said Cawit reportedly belongs to a faction loyal to Toquero.

Several students and professors interviewed by The STAR said the squabble does not affect them because the university continues to function normally.

“However, they should resolve this immediately because it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. They should spare the school from politics,” a professor said.











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