SC upholds UST’s termination of professors who do not have master’s degrees
The Supreme Court (SC) has upheld the University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) termination of three professors who did not meet the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHEd) requirement of having master’s degrees.
In a recent 19-page decision, the SC 1st Division affirmed the Court of Appeals’ (CA) September 27, 2013 decision to set aside the National Labor Relations Commission’s (NLRC) August 10, 2011 ruling in favor of Raymond Son, Raymond Antiola and Wilfredo Pollarco.
The three professors argued that under the faculty collective bargaining agreement (CBA), they should have attained tenure since they were allowed to keep teaching even as they did not meet the requirement to finish their master’s degrees within the first five semesters of service.
Then-CHED chair Emmanuel Angeles issued a March 3, 2010 memorandum directing universities to implement the requirement for undergraduate programs to be taught by master’s degree holders.
On June 11, 2010, the UST terminated the three after they failed to make a written appeal regarding plans to complete their master’s degrees.
The SC, however, said it would be “contrary to law” if the faculty CBA was deemed to have waived the application of the CHED memorandum.
It noted that both the professors and the UST were “violating” the requirement when they were allowed to keep teaching prior to Angeles’s memorandum.
“A waiver would prejudice the rights of the students and the pubic, who have a right to expect that UST is acting within the bounds of the law, and provides quality education by hiring only qualified teaching personnel,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
The SC added that the UST was not in bad faith when it opted not to renew the professors’ appointments after they failed to file a written appeal.
“There is no tenure to speak of in the first place,” the decision read.