• Court rejects dismissed school official’s plea


    ZAMBOANGA CITY: The Supreme Court has rejected the petition for judicial review filed by a controversial school official in Marawi City who publicly challenged her removal by the Department of Education in the Muslim autonomous region, officials said on Thursday.

    Director Amir Mawallil, of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao’s (ARMM) Bureau of Public Information, said Mona Macatanong, the former school division superintendent, was ordered to vacate her office in May 2014 after she reached the compulsory retirement age of 65 in October 2013.

    But Macatanong said her public birth records were defective. She went to the regional court and corrected her birth records that would allow her to serve until 2016.

    “Macatanong resisted and insisted on the correction of her date of birth, as affirmed by the regional trial court in Marawi in order to extend her tenure until 2016,” Mawallil told The Manila Times.

    He said the Department of Education appealed the decision of the regional court and eventually appointed Farida Sansarona as officer-in-charge of the school division. Sansarona was the former assistant school division superintendent.

    Despite this, Macatanong continued acting as division superintendent that resulted in confusion among public school teachers and affected the operations of the Department of Education in Marawi City.

    “Macatanong also went to the Supreme Court and filed a motion for certiorari, but this was denied by the High Court,” Mawallil said.

    He said the legal proceedings against the former education official had dragged on for two years and “the decision of the Supreme Court is a welcome development to all and this will set the record straight once and for all.”

    Mawallil said ARMM Education Secretary John Magno also expressed relief. “We pursued legal action because we knew that the rule of law was on our side and this Supreme Court decision affirms our position,” he quoted Magno as saying.

    He said the Supreme Court also directed the Office of the Court Administrator and the Office of the Bar Confidant to conduct an investigation regarding the regional trial court’s “highly questionable” handling of Macatanong’s petition for correction of her date of birth.

    “Macatanong’s case caused a backlog in the Marawi City Schools Division as it interrupted the process of promotion among teachers mandated by law,” Mawallil said, adding the Department of Education is also investigating reports that aspiring teachers had allegedly paid as much as P300,000 for a job in Marawi City.

    There was no immediate statement from Macatanong, but her followers had repeatedly besmirched the reputations of Magno and ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman on social media following her removal from office.



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