SC up­holds K to 12 pro­gram

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By JEF­FREY G. DAM­ICOG

The Supreme Court (SC) has up­held the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the gov­ern­ment’s K to 12 ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram.

With the de­ci­sion, the SC lifted its April 21, 2015 tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der (TRO) against Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (CHED) Mem­o­ran­dum Or­der (CMO) No. 20, which di­rected the ex­clu­sion of Filipino and Pan­i­tikan as core cour­ses from the cur­ricu­lum of col­lege cour­ses.

In a 94-page de­ci­sion penned by Jus­tice Al­fredo Ben­jamin Caguioa, the SC de­nied the con­sol­i­dated

pe­ti­tions which as­sailed the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of Repub­lic Act 10533 (K to 12 Law), RA 10157 (Kinder­garten Ed­u­ca­tion Act), and other gov­ern­ment is­suances con­cern­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the K to 12 Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gram, in­clud­ing CMO No. 20.

“Where­fore, the con­sol­i­dated pe­ti­tions are hereby de­nied. Ac­cord­ingly, the Court de­clares Repub­lic Act No. 10533, Repub­lic Act. No. 10157, CHED Mem­o­ran­dum Or­der No. 20, Se­ries of 2013, De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion Or­der No. 31, Se­ries of 2012, and Joint Guide­lines on the Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the La­bor and Man­age­ment Com­po­nent of Repub­lic Act No. 10533, as con­sti­tu­tional,” read the de­ci­sion dated Oct. 9 but was made avail­able to me­dia just re­cently.

The de­ci­sion was re­leased in re­sponse to nu­mer­ous is­sues raised in seven sep­a­rate pe­ti­tions filed by var­i­ous groups and in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing stu­dents, teach­ers, and law­mak­ers.

One of the is­sues raised by the pe­ti­tion­ers is that they were de­prived of their con­sti­tu­tional right to be con­sulted in mat­ters con­cern­ing their in­ter­ests prior the pas­sage of the law.

“The Court holds that, con­trary to pe­ti­tion­ers’ con­tention, the K to 12 Law was validly en­acted,” the SC said.

The High Court cited that Con­gress, from 2011 to 2012, and even the De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion (DepEd) in 2011 held re­gional pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions which in­cluded as par­tic­i­pants stu­dents, par­ents, teach­ers, school rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and lo­cal gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“And even as­sum­ing that no con­sul­ta­tions had been made prior to the adop­tion of the K to 12, it has been held that the ‘penalty for fail­ure on the part of the gov­ern­ment to con­sult could only be re­flected in the bal­lot box and would not nul­lify gov­ern­ment ac­tion’,” said the Tri­bunal, cit­ing its 2007 rul­ing in the case of Anak Min­danao Party-List Group v. Er­mita.

As to the con­tention that there were ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the pas­sage of the law con­sid­er­ing the bill ap­proved in Con­gress was dif­fer­ent from the one signed by then Pres­i­dent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, the SC stressed that it will al­ways ad­here to the en­rolled bill doc­trine.

“Un­der the ‘en­rolled bill doc­trine,’ the sign­ing of a bill by the Speaker of the House and the Se­nate Pres­i­dent and the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Sec­re­taries of both Houses of Con­gress that it was passed is con­clu­sive not only as to its pro­vi­sions but also as to its due en­act­ment,” the SC said.

Be­cause of this, the SC said the al­le­ga­tions of the pe­ti­tion­ers “had all failed to con­vince the Court to look be­yond the four cor­ners of the en­rolled copy of the bill.”

The High Tri­bunal also as­sured that there is “no un­due del­e­ga­tion of leg­isla­tive power in the en­act­ment of the K to 12 Law.”

“More­over, scat­tered through­out the K to 12 Law are the stan­dards to guide the DepEd, CHED and TESDA (Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Skills De­vel­op­ment Author­ity) in car­ry­ing out the pro­vi­sions of the law, from the de­vel­op­ment of the K to 12 BEC (Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion Cur­ricu­lum), to the hir­ing and train­ing of teach­ing per­son­nel and to the for­mu­la­tion of ap­pro­pri­ate strate­gies in or­der to ad­dress the changes dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod,” it stated.

The SC also dis­agreed with pe­ti­tion­ers that the gov­ern­ment vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion when it ex­er­cised po­lice pow­ers to reg­u­late ed­u­ca­tion in adopt­ing the K to 12 Law.

With re­gards to CMO No. 20, the High Court as­sured that the mem­o­ran­dum is con­sti­tu­tional and does not vi­o­late any laws.

It pointed out that the framers of the Con­sti­tu­tion “ex­plained that the use of Filipino as a medium of of­fi­cial com­mu­ni­ca­tion is still sub­ject to pro­vi­sions of law.”

“To be sure, the changes in the GE (Gen­eral Ed­u­ca­tion) cur­ricu­lum were im­ple­mented to en­sure that there would be no du­pli­ca­tion of sub­jects in Grade 1 to 10, se­nior high school, and col­lege. Thus, the al­le­ga­tion of pe­ti­tion­ers that CMO No. 20 ‘re­moved’ the study of Filipino, Pan­i­tikan, and the Con­sti­tu­tion in the GE cur­ricu­lum is in­cor­rect,” it stressed.

The de­ci­sion was unan­i­mously con­curred in by then Chief Jus­tice Tere­sita Leonardo-De Cas­tro and Jus­tices An­to­nio Car­pio, Dios­dado Per­alta, Mar­i­ano Del Castillo, Estela Per­las-Bern­abe, Fran­cis Jardeleza, Noel Ti­jam, An­dres Reyes Jr., and Mariv Leo­nen who has a sep­a­rate con­cur­ring opin­ion.

Only Jus­tices Jose Reyes Jr., Alexan­der Ges­mundo and Lucas Ber­samin failed to sign the de­ci­sion as they are on leave.

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