Photo by Joel Leporada/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – Petitioners against the implementation this year of the K to 12 program of the Department of Education (DepEd) went to the Supreme Court (SC) again on Monday, February 15, to ask for a temporary restraining order (TRO).
They are hoping the High Court will include their petition in the en banc session's agenda on Tuesday, February 16, and that oral arguments will be scheduled.
In their 4th motion asking SC to for a TRO, parents, teachers and students of the Manila Science High School pointed out the "extreme urgency" of resolving their petition so Grade 10 students can beat deadlines for entrance tests at colleges and universities.
The petitioners are asking the High Court to declare as unconstitutional the additional two years in high school that will be implemented starting school year 2016-2017. The senior high school program is provided in Republic Act 10533 and DepEd Order 31, series of 2012.
The petitioners' counsel, Severo Brillantes, said that DepEd Order 31 was issued before the K to 12 law was still being deliberated by Congress, and should therefore have no legal effect.
Parents and teachers were also not consulted before the order was issued, he said.
With the signing of RA 10533 or the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, two years have been added to the basic education system of the Philippines. The largest batch of students under the program will enter senior high school's grade 11 in 2016, and grade 12 in 2017.
But this same batch started high school in 2012, when K to 12 was not yet a law. The petitioners said if K to 12 pushes through, these Grade 10 students will be deprived of their right to enter college after completing the original 4 years of high school.
"They respectfully wish to call the attention of the Honorable Court that since the school year is about to end, if it still does not resolve their prayer for a TRO, the Grade Ten Students among them will suffer the grave injustice and irreparable injury of not being admitted to college next school year, despite the utmost merit of their said motionfor a TRO, thereby rendering ineffectual the judgment and reliefs they are praying for in their instant petition," Brillantes said.
The petitioners noted that the SC seemed oblivious to the urgency of the matter.
"While they were fully aware that the issuance of a TRO rests on the sound discretion of the Honorable Court, there was absolutely no more reason for the Honorable Court not to act on their said motion, considering that respondents have already been heard on their petition through their comment and they have already complied with the Order of the Honorable Court to file a reply thereto," the counsel added.
"They were expecting that at the very least, their 3rd Most Urgent Motion for Issuance of a TRO will be included in the agenda of the Honorable Court’s remaining En Banc sessions last December 2015 and be deemed submitted for Resolution. They subsequently sadly learned however that it was only last January 12, 2016 that it was heard by the Supreme Court En Banc."
Aside from the Manila Science High School community, the members of the House of Representatives have pending petitions with the SC, also seeking to declare the K to 12 program unconstitutional: Antonio Tinio of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Neri Colminares and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis, Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, and Terry Ridon of Kabataan. – Rappler.com