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CA orders school to clear student despite scathing graduation speech

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday ruled in favor of student Krisel Mallari and ordered her school to issue a certificate of good moral character despite her scathing graduation speech last March.

In a resolution, the CA Second Division granted the student's plea for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against Santo NiƱo Parochial School (SNPS) and school registrar Mrs. Yolanda Casero.

"Wherefore, Krisel's application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction is Granted and a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction is issued ordering SNPS to immediately release upon receipt of this resolution a Certificate of Good Moral Character in favor of Krisel," the resolution reads.

Also, the CA said the certificate should be issued for the meantime while the court hears the petition, so the 16-year-old salutatorian could already enroll at the University of Santo Tomas' accountacy program.

In her petition, Mallari said she needed the certificate for her admission to the UST.

"It is of judicial notice that the UST starts its classes for the first semester anytime within the month of August 2015. In this regard, and considering that time is of the essence, this Court reiterates its order that SNPS should issue a Certificate of Good Moral Character in favor of Krisel immediately upon receipt of this resolution," the CA resolution added.

The appellate court further ordered the SNPS and Casero to file its comment within a period of 10 days and for Krisel to file her reply within five days.

Earlier, the SNPS refused to issue a certification arguing that "the issuance of a certificate of good moral character, is discretionary, hence it cannot be compelled to issue one if it believes that the recipient is not deserving of the same."

However, the CA argued that a minor like Krisel should not be deprived of her studies even if she committed mistakes in school.

"Krisel, just like any other child, commits transgressions and therefore, must be disciplined. However, the manner by which she is disciplined should not go to the extent of spoiling or destroying her dreams and aspirations," according to the CA.

The graduation video of Mallari's speech that had gone viral showed school officials interrupting her while delivering her speech at the SNPS graduation rites last March.

In her speech, Mallari said, "Maraming tao ang nagbulag-bulagan sa isang sistemang marumi at kaduda-duda. Ngunit hindi ko ito tinularan. Ipinaglaban ko ang sa tingin ko’y tama. Nanindigan ako bilang isang Pilipino na palaban at may takot sa Diyos."

At this point in the video, the school officials who were seated onstage went to the podium and handed Mallari sheets of paper, interrupting her speech.

As she tried to continue, the host interrupted her again, saying, "May I call on the attention of our school principal? Krisel can take her seat."

In her supposed speech, Mallari closed with these words, "I am Krisel Mallari, a Filipino citizen who would rather choose to fail with honor than win by cheating."

The Department of Education had ordered SNPS to issue the certificate to Mallari but the latter refused to honor the order.

Mallari had tried but failed to secure a temporary restraining order from the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 216.

In its ruling, the CA scored SNPS saying that Mallari should not be "punished arbitrarily for exercising her right to freedom of expression."

"Clearly, SNPS is bent on punishing Krisel for her actuation during the graduation rites held on March 21, 2015 ... but such is not a justifiable reason to withhold from Kristel a certificate that she so deserves," it said. — LBG, GMA News


SOURCE: GMA News 

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