Monday, January 10, 2011

There is a Need to Amend R.A. 9500 or the 2008 University of the Philippines Charter

By Chanda Shahani

The Chief Officer of at least one state body may be removed for a reason, such as for “neglect of duty; abuse of power; oppression; incompetence; unprofessional, unethical, immoral or dishonorable conduct; commission or toleration of irregularities in the conduct of examination or tampering of the grades therein, or for any final judgment or conviction of any criminal offense involving moral turpitude.”

This writer is currently taking a two-month seminar at the Urban Institute of Real Estate at Makati City and has been introduced to Republic Act 9646, which is an act regulating the practice of real estate service in the Philippines (see: The removal of the Chairperson or Members of the Board the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Services (PRBRES) is fairly straightforward, and allows its very head to be removed for cause. As a standard tool to put in a system of checks-and-balances in the PRBRES, this seems reasonable. In fact it would seem to be reasonable to have such a system for any entity made up of men and women

But the University of the Philippines System has no such clause in Republic Act 9500 or the 2008 University of the Philippines Charter (see: which outgoing U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman lobbied extensively for in both Houses of Congress. The lack of such a standard clause in the draft bill, made by U.P. itself, should have, for fairness' sake, specifically allowed the U.P. Board of Regents to remove a sitting U.P. President, and is a major flaw in the U.P. Charter and had it been present, could have ameliorated many of the massive protests against the administration of President Roman for what many say is her six-year track record of “undemocratic governance.” At the very least, the threat of removal by the BOR should have tended to water down the vigor with which many of the objectionable decisions were carried out under the outgoing Administration.

Even Philippine Normal University, a comparably equivalent State University with its own Republic Act 7168 which is an act converting the Philippine Normal College into a state university allows for the removal of a President “for cause” (
by the Philippine President upon the recommendation of PNU's BOR.

But the Philippine President no longer wields the power to exercise command votes within the BOR to choose whom he or she wants to be the next U.P. President. R.A. 9500 virtually guarantees that an independent BOR is made up of many different stakeholders with none commanding a majority of the vote. Unfortunately, as can be seen in the case of the outgoing U.P. Administration, the temptation to wield dictatorial powers was too great to withstand, and so the outgoing administration found itself meddling in the composition of the BOR itself in order to sustain decisions that are now being called into question.

This writer will be discussing more of the global implications of the past actions of the outgoing U.P. Administration in its upcoming article, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire – Then and Now” (see:

But in the meantime, this writer ends this article with the observation that R.A. 9500 needs to be amended via a piece of legislation filed in Congress and that among other issues, it needs to include the insertion of a provision allowing for the removal of a sitting U.P. President if we are not to repeat the same mistakes and debacles of the past six years. This is necessary for structural reasons as the insertion of such a provision helps put the necessary mental pressure on any sitting U.P. President to hew more closely to the straight and narrow path. This provision, coupled with constant oversight by vigilant sectors, acts as the necessary check-and-balance on that huge and unwieldy organism known as the U.P. System.

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