September 8, 2022 @ 2:16 PM 3 weeks ago

TWO prominent lawyers – hard-hitting Attorneys Larry Gadon and Erwin Erfe, Public Attorney’s Office – Forensics Division chief, led the calls for the government and lawmakers to abolish the Commission on Higher Education and return it to its mother unit now called the Department of Education.

“During the time of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr., the father of our President Bongbong Marcos Jr., this CHEd was only part of then Department of Education, Culture and Sports and was only separated during the time of ex-President Cory Aquino,” Erfe, also a doctor, said.

“CHEd can be only part of DepEd so that there’d only be a single policy and it will be harmonized unlike what is happening at present when they’ve conflicting regulations regarding the interest of the schools, teachers and students in the country.”

He cited the decision made by Vice President and concurrent DepEd Secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio for issuing a non-discriminatory policy relative to the vaccination status of students and teachers.

On one hand, Erfe and PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said CHEd has practically banned students following its ‘unconstitutional’ memorandum signed by its chairman Popoy De Vera, disallowing unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students to enter school premises to enroll and study.

Discrimination in colleges and universities against unvaccinated and partially vaccinated students is unlawful, contrary to the students’ basic right to education and more importantly to Republic Act 11525, the COVID-19 Vaccination Program, which states that vaccination is not mandatory,” according to the chief public attorney.

Gadon was more convinced to scrap the commission and return it to DepEd as a division as what it’s before when under DECS. With the confusing and conflicting policies of CHEd that sometimes are already unconstitutional, I think this is the right time for the national government to abolish this,” said Gadon, a senatorial aspirant who actively campaigned for the younger Marcos and Duterte-Carpio during the May 9 polls.

Gadon said CHEd must focus on how to extend the much-needed help higher education institutions to recover after they were affected by pandemic.

There are a number of HEIs and the latest was the Colegio de San Lorenzo in Quezon City that has been forced to shut down and, as a result, a bigger number of students and teachers were affected, these displaced sectors are the ones that need CHEd’s attention.”