Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 169391               October 10, 2012

GO, and Minor EMERSON CHESTER KIM B. GO, Petitioners,
vs.
COLEGIO DE SAN JUAN DE LETRAN, REV. FR. EDWIN LAO, REV. FR. JOSE RHOMMEL HERNANDEZ, ALBERT ROSARDA and MA. TERESA SURATOS, Respondents.

D E C I S I O N

BRION, J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 assailing the Decision2 dated May 27, 2005 and the resolution3 dated August 18, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 80349. The CA decision reversed and set aside the decision4 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC') of Caloocan City, Branch 131, awarding civil damages to the petitioners. The CA resolution denied the petitioners' subsequent motion for reconsideration.

The petitioners claim that respondents Colegio de San Juan de Letran (Letran), Rev. Fr. Edwin Lao, Rev. Fr. Jose Rhommel Hernandez, Mr. Albert Rosarda and Ma. Teresa Suratos should be held liable for moral, exemplary, and actual damages for unlawfully dismissing petitioner Emerson Chester Kim B. Go (Kim) from the rolls of the high school department of Letran. The respondents claim that they lawfully suspended Kim for violating the schoolís rule against fraternity membership.

Factual Background

In October 2001, Mr. George Isleta, the Head of Letranís Auxiliary Services Department, received information that certain fraternities were recruiting new members among Letranís high school students. He also received a list of the students allegedly involved. School authorities started an investigation, including the conduct of medical examinations on the students whose names were on the list. On November 20, 2002, Dr. Emmanuel Asuncion, the school physician, reported that six (6) students bore injuries, probable signs of blunt trauma of more than two weeks, on the posterior portions of their thighs.5 Mr. Rosarda, the Assistant Prefect for Discipline, conferred with the students and asked for their explanations in writing.

Four (4) students, namely: Raphael Jay Fulgencio, Nicolai Lacson, Carlos Parilla, and Isaac Gumba, admitted that they were neophytes of the Tau Gamma Fraternity and were present in a hazing rite held on October 3, 2001 in the house of one Dulce in Tondo, Manila. They also identified the senior members of the fraternity present at their hazing. These included Kim, then a fourth year high school student.

In the meantime, Gerardo Manipon, Letranís security officer, prepared an incident report6 that the Tau Gamma Fraternity had violated its covenant with Letran by recruiting members from its high school department. Manipol had spoken to one of the fraternity neophytes and obtained a list of eighteen (18) members of the fraternity currently enrolled at the high school department. Kimís name was also in the list.

At the Parents-Teachers Conference held on November 23, 2001, Mr. Rosarda informed Kimís mother, petitioner Mrs. Angelita Go (Mrs. Go), that students had positively identified Kim as a fraternity member. Mrs. Go expressed disbelief as her son was supposedly under his parentsí constant supervision.

Mr. Rosarda thereafter spoke to Kim and asked him to explain his side. Kim responded through a written statement dated December 19, 2001; he denied that he was a fraternity member. He stated that at that time, he was at Dulceís house to pick up a gift, and did not attend the hazing of Rafael, Nicolai, Carlos, and Isaac.

On the same day, Mr. Rosarda requested Kimís parents (by notice) to attend a conference on January 8, 2002 to address the issue of Kimís fraternity membership.7 Both Mrs. Go and petitioner Mr. Eugene Go (Mr. Go) did not attend the conference.

In time, the respondents found that twenty-nine (29) of their students, including Kim, were fraternity members. The respondents found substantial basis in the neophytesí statements that Kim was a senior fraternity member. Based on their disciplinary rules, the Father Prefect for Discipline (respondent Rev. Fr. Jose Rhommel Hernandez) recommended the fraternity membersí dismissal from the high school department rolls; incidentally, this sanction was stated in a January 10, 2002 letter to Mr. and Mrs. Go.8 After a meeting with the Rectorís Council,9 however, respondent Fr. Edwin Lao, Father Rector and President of Letran, rejected the recommendation to allow the fourth year students to graduate from Letran. Students who were not in their fourth year were allowed to finish the current school year but were barred from subsequent enrollment in Letran.

Mr. Rosarda conveyed to Mrs. Go and Kim, in their conference on January 15, 2002, the decision to suspend Kim from January 16, 2002 to February 18, 2002.10 Incidentally, Mr. Go did not attend this conference.11

On even date, Mrs. Go submitted a request for the deferment of Kimís suspension to January 21, 200212 so that he could take a previously scheduled examination.13 The request was granted.14

On January 22, 2002, the respondents conferred with the parents of the sanctioned fourth year students to discuss the extension classes the students would take (as arranged by the respondents) as make-up for classes missed during their suspension. These extension classes would enable the students to meet all academic requirements for graduation from high school by the summer of 2002. The respondents also proposed that the students and their parents sign a pro-forma agreement to signify their conformity with their suspension. Mr. and Mrs. Go refused to sign.15 They also refused to accept the respondentsí finding that Kim was a fraternity member. They likewise insisted that due process had not been observed.

On January 28, 2002, the petitioners filed a complaint16 for damages before the RTC of Caloocan City claiming that the respondents17 had unlawfully dismissed Kim.18 Mr. and Mrs. Go also sought compensation for the "business opportunity losses" they suffered while personally attending to Kimís disciplinary case.

The Ruling of the RTC

Mrs. Go19 and Mr. Go20 testified for the petitioners at the trial. Mr. Rosarda,21 Fr. Hernandez,22 and Fr. Lao23 testified for the respondents.

The RTC24 held that the respondents had failed to observe "the basic requirement of due process" and that their evidence was "utterly insufficient" to prove that Kim was a fraternity member.25 It also declared that Letran had no authority to dismiss students for their fraternity membership. Accordingly, it awarded the petitioners moral and exemplary damages. The trial court also held that Mr. Go was entitled to actual damages after finding that he had neglected his manufacturing business when he personally attended to his sonís disciplinary case. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the Court renders judgment in favor of plaintiffs-spouses Eugene C. Go and Angelita B. Go, together with their minor son Emerson Chester Kim B. Go, as against defendants Colegio De San Juan De Letran, Fr. Edwin Lao, Fr. Jose Rhommel Hernandez, Albert Rosarda and Ma. Teresa Suratos, and they are hereby ordered the following:

1. To pay plaintiff Eugene C. Go the amount of ₱ 2,854,000.00 as actual damages;

2. To pay each plaintiff, Eugene C. Go and Angelita B. Go, the amount of ₱ 2,000,000.00 for each defendant, or a total amount of ₱ 20,000,000.00 as moral damages; and ₱ 1,000,000.00 for each defendant, or a total amount of ₱ 10,000,000.00 as exemplary damages, or a grand total of ₱ 30,000,000.00, to be paid solidarily by all liable defendants, plus prevailing legal interest thereon from the date of filing until the same is fully paid;

3. To pay plaintiffs 20% of the total amount awarded, as attorneyís fees, to be paid solidarily by all liable defendants; and

4. The cost of suit.26

The Ruling of the CA

On appeal, the CA reversed and set aside the RTC decision. It held, among others, that the petitioners were not denied due process as the petitioners had been given ample opportunity to be heard in Kimís disciplinary case. The CA also found that there was no bad faith, malice, fraud, nor any improper and willful motive or conduct on the part of the respondents to justify the award of damages. Accordingly, it dismissed the petitionersí complaint in Civil Case No. C-19938 for lack of merit.

The petitioners moved for the reconsideration of the decision, but the CA denied the motion for lack of merit;27 hence, the present petition for review on certiorari.

The Issue

Based on the petitionís assigned errors,28 the issue for our resolution is whether the CA had erred in setting aside the decision of the RTC in Civil Case No. C-19938.

The Courtís Ruling

We deny the petition and affirm the CA decision.

Preliminarily, we note that the disciplinary sanction the respondents imposed on Kim was actually a suspension and not a "dismissal" as the petitioners insist in their complaint. We agree with the CA that the petitioners were well aware of this fact, as Mrs. Goís letter specifically requested that Kimís suspension be deferred. That this request was granted and that Kim was allowed to take the examination further support the conclusion that Kim had not been dismissed.

Further, the RTCís statement that Letran, a private school, possesses no authority to impose a dismissal, or any disciplinary action for that matter, on students who violate its policy against fraternity membership must be corrected. The RTC reasoned out that Order No. 20, series of 1991, of the then Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991),29 which the respondents cite as legal basis for Letranís policy, only covered public high schools and not private high schools such as Letran.

We disagree with the RTCís reasoning because it is a restrictive interpretation of DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991. True, the fourth paragraph of the order states:

4. EFFECTIVE UPON RECEIPT OF THIS ORDER, FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES ARE PROHIBITED IN PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS. PENALTY FOR NON-COMPLIANCE IS EXPULSION OF PUPILS/STUDENTS.

This paragraph seems to limit the scope of the orderís prohibition to public elementary and secondary schools. However, in ascertaining the meaning of DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991, the entire order must be taken as a whole.30 It should be read, not in isolated parts, but with reference to every other part and every word and phrase in connection with its context.31

Even a cursory perusal of the rest of DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991 reveals the education departmentís clear intent to apply the prohibition against fraternity membership for all elementary and high school students, regardless of their school of enrollment.

The orderís title, "Prohibition of Fraternities and Sororities in Elementary and Secondary Schools," serves to clarify whatever ambiguity may arise from its fourth paragraph.32 It is a straightforward title. It directs the prohibition to elementary and secondary schools in general, and does not distinguish between private and public schools. We also look at the orderís second paragraph, whereby the department faults an earlier regulation, Department Order No. 6, series of 1954, for failing to ban fraternities and sororities in public and private secondary schools. With the second paragraph, it is clear that the education department sought to remedy the earlier orderís failing by way of DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991.

Finally, we note that the order is addressed to the heads of private schools, colleges, and universities, and not just to the public school authorities.

For this Court to sustain the RTCís restrictive interpretation and accordingly limit the prohibition in DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991 to students enrolled in public schools would be to impede the very purpose of the order.33 In United Harbor Pilotsí Association of the Philippines, Inc. v. Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc., where the Court construed an executive order,34 we also stated that statutes are to be given such construction as would advance the object, suppress the mischief, and secure the benefits the statute intended. There is no reason why this principle cannot apply to the construction of DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991.

Incidentally, the penalty for non-compliance with DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991, is expulsion, a severe form of disciplinary penalty consisting of excluding a student from admission to any public or private school in the country. It requires the approval of the education secretary before it can be imposed.35 In contrast, the penalty prescribed by the rules of Letran for fraternity membership among their high school students is dismissal, which is limited to the exclusion of an erring student from the rolls of the school.

Even assuming arguendo that the education department had not issued such prohibition, private schools still have the authority to promulgate and enforce a similar prohibition pursuant to their right to establish disciplinary rules and regulations.36 This right has been recognized in the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, which has the character of law.37 Section 78 of the 1992 Manual of Regulations of Regulations for Private Schools, in particular and with relevance to this case, provides:

Section 78. Authority to Promulgate Disciplinary Rules. Every private school shall have the right to promulgate reasonable norms, rules and regulations it may deem necessary and consistent with the provisions of this Manual for the maintenance of good school discipline and class attendance. Such rules and regulations shall be effective as of promulgation and notification to students in an appropriate school issuance or publication.

The right to establish disciplinary rules is consistent with the mandate in the Constitution38 for schools to teach discipline;39 in fact, schools have the duty to develop discipline in students.40 Corollarily, the Court has always recognized the right of schools to impose disciplinary sanctions on students who violate disciplinary rules.41 The penalty for violations includes dismissal or exclusion from re-enrollment.

We find Letranís rule prohibiting its high school students from joining fraternities to be a reasonable regulation, not only because of the reasons stated in DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991,42 but also because of the adult-oriented activities often associated with fraternities. Expectedly, most, if not all, of its high school students are minors. Besides, Letranís penalty for violation of the rule is clearly stated in its enrollment contracts and in the Students Handbooks43 it distributes at the start of every school year.44

In this case, the petitioners were notified of both rule and penalty through Kimís enrollment contract for school year 2001 to 2002.45 Notably, the penalty provided for fraternity membership is "summary dismissal." We also note that Mrs. Go signified her conformé to these terms with her signature in the contract.46 No reason, therefore, exist to justify the trial courtís position that respondent Letran cannot lawfully dismiss violating students, such as Kim.

On the issue of due process, the petitioners insist that the question be resolved under the guidelines for administrative due process in Ang Tibay v. Court of Industrial Relations.47 They argue that the respondents violated due process (a) by not conducting a formal inquiry into the charge against Kim; (b) by not giving them any written notice of the charge; and (c) by not providing them with the opportunity to cross-examine the neophytes who had positively identified Kim as a senior member of their fraternity. The petitioners also fault the respondents for not showing them the neophytesí written statements, which they claim to be unverified, unsworn, and hearsay.

These arguments deserve scant attention.

In Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong,48 the Court held that Guzman v. National University,49 not Ang Tibay, is the authority on the procedural rights of students in disciplinary cases. In Guzman, we laid down the minimum standards in the imposition of disciplinary sanctions in academic institutions, as follows:

It bears stressing that due process in disciplinary cases involving students does not entail proceedings and hearings similar to those prescribed for actions and proceedings in courts of justice. The proceedings in student discipline cases may be summary; and crossexamination is not, contrary to petitionersí view, an essential part thereof. There are withal minimum standards which must be met to satisfy the demands of procedural due process; and these are, that (1) the students must be informed in writing of the nature and cause of any accusation against them; (2) they shall have the right to answer the charges against them, with the assistance of counsel, if desired; (3) they shall be informed of the evidence against them; (4) they shall have the right to adduce evidence in their own behalf; and (5) the evidence must be duly considered by the investigating committee or official designated by the school authorities to hear and decide the case.50

These standards render the petitionersí arguments totally without merit.

In De La Salle University, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,51 where we affirmed the petitioning universityís right to exclude students from the rolls of their respective schools52 for their involvement in a fraternity mauling incident, we rejected the argument that there is a denial of due process when students are not allowed to cross-examine the witnesses against them in school disciplinary proceedings. We reject the same argument in this case.

We are likewise not moved by the petitionersí argument that they were not given the opportunity to examine the neophytesí written statements and the security officerís incident report.53 These documents are admissible in school disciplinary proceedings, and may amount to substantial evidence to support a decision in these proceedings. In Ateneo de Manila University v. Capulong,54 where the private respondents were students dismissed from their law school after participating in hazing activities, we held:

Respondent students may not use the argument that since they were not accorded the opportunity to see and examine the written statements which became the basis of petitionersí February 14, 1991 order, they were denied procedural due process. Granting that they were denied such opportunity, the same may not be said to detract from the observance of due process, for disciplinary cases involving students need not necessarily include the right to cross examination. [Emphasis ours.]55

Since disciplinary proceedings may be summary, the insistence that a "formal inquiry" on the accusation against Kim should have been conducted lacks legal basis. It has no factual basis as well. While the petitioners state that Mr. and Mrs. Go were "never given an opportunity to assist Kim,"56 the records show that the respondents gave them two (2) notices, dated December 19, 2001 and January 8, 2002, for conferences on January 8, 2002 and January 15, 2002.57 The notices clearly state: "Dear Mr./Mrs. Go, We would like to seek your help in correcting Kimís problem on: Discipline & Conduct Offense: Membership in Fraternity."58 Thus, the respondents had given them ample opportunity to assist their son in his disciplinary case.

The records also show that, without any explanation, both parents failed to attend the January 8, 2002 conference while Mr. Go did not bother to go to the January 15, 2002 conference. "Where a party was afforded an opportunity to participate in the proceedings but failed to do so, he cannot [thereafter] complain of deprivation of due process."59

Through the notices, the respondents duly informed the petitioners in writing that Kim had a disciplinary charge for fraternity membership. At the earlier November 23, 2001 Parents-Teachers Conference, Mr. Rosarda also informed Mrs. Go that the charge stemmed from the fraternity neophytesí positive identification of Kim as a member; thus the petitioners fully knew of the nature of the evidence that stood against Kim.

The petitioners nevertheless argue that the respondents defectively observed the written notice rule because they had requested, and received, Kimís written explanation at a time when the respondents had not yet issued the written notice of the accusation against him. The records indicate that while Kimís denial and the first notice were both dated December 19, 2001, Kim had not yet received the notice at the time he made the requested written explanation.

We see no merit in this argument as the petitioners apparently hew to an erroneous view of administrative due process. Jurisprudence has clarified that administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in the strict judicial sense.60 The very nature of due process negates any concept of inflexible procedures universally applicable to every imaginable situation.61 Thus, we are hard pressed to believe that Kimís denial of his fraternity membership before formal notice was given worked against his interest in the disciplinary case. What matters for due process purpose is notice of what is to be explained, not the form in which the notice is given.

The raison díetre of the written notice rule is to inform the student of the disciplinary charge against him and to enable him to suitably prepare a defense. The records show that as early as November 23, 2001, it was already made plain to the petitioners that the subject matter of the case against Kim was his alleged fraternity membership. Thus, by the time Mr. Rosarda spoke to Kim and asked for his written explanation in December 2001, Kim has had enough time to prepare his response to this plain charge. We also note that the information in the notice the respondents subsequently sent is no different from the information that they had earlier conveyed, albeit orally, to the petitioners: the simple unadorned statement that Kim stood accused of fraternity membership. Given these circumstances, we are not convinced that Kimís right to explain his side as exercised in his written denial had been violated or diminished. The essence of due process, it bears repeating, is simply the opportunity to be heard.62

And Kim had been heard. His written explanation was received, indeed even solicited, by the respondents.1‚wphi1 Thus, he cannot claim that he was denied the right to adduce evidence in his behalf. In fact, the petitioners were given further opportunity to produce additional evidence with the January 8, 2002 conference that they did not attend. We are also satisfied that the respondents had considered all the pieces of evidence and found these to be substantial. We note especially that the petitioners never imputed any motive on Kimís co-students that would justify the claim that they uttered falsehood against him.

In Licup v. San Carlos University,63 the Court held that when a student commits a serious breach of discipline or fails to maintain the required academic standard, he forfeits his contractual right, and the court should not review the discretion of university authorities.64 In San Sebastian College v. Court of Appeals, et al.,65 we held that only when there is marked arbitrariness should the court interfere with the academic judgment of the school faculty and the proper authorities.66 In this case, we find that the respondents observed due process in Kimís disciplinary case, consistent with our pronouncements in Guzman. No reason exists why the above principles in these cited cases cannot apply to this case. The respondentsí decision that Kim had violated a disciplinary rule and should be sanctioned must be respected.

As a final point, the CA correctly held that there were no further bases to hold the respondents liable for moral or exemplary damages. Our study of the records confirms that the respondents did not act with bad faith, malice, fraud, or improper or willful motive or conduct in disciplining Kim. Moreover, we find no basis for the award of actual damages. The petitioners claim, and the RTC agreed,67 that the respondents are liable for the business opportunity losses the petitioners incurred after their clients had cancelled their purchases in their plastic-manufacturing business. To prove the claim, Mr. Go testified that he neglected his business affairs because he had his attention on Kim's unlawful dismissal, and that his clients had subsequently cancelled their purchase orders when he could not confirm them.68 His testimony on the reason for the clients' cancellation, however, is obviously hearsay and remains speculative. The respondents' liability for actual damages cannot be based on speculation.

For these reasons, we find no reversible error Ill the assailed ('A decision, and accordingly, DENY the present petition.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby AFFIRM the decision dated May 271 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 80349.

Costs against the petitioners.

SO ORDERED.

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson

MARIANO C. DEL CASTILLO
Associate Justice
JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ
Associate Justice

ESTELA M. PERLAS-BERNABE
Associate Justice

A T T E S T A T I O N

I attest th3t the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assig11ed to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

ANTONIO T. CARPIO
Associate Justice
Chairperson

C E R T I F I C A T I O N

Pursuant to Section 13, Article Vlll of the Constitution, and the Division Chairperson's Attestation, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court's Division.

MARIA LOURDES P.A. SERENO
Chief Justice


Footnotes

1 Filed under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court; rollo, pp.3-37.

2 Penned by Associate Justice Rosmari D. Carandang and concurred in by Associate Justices Remedios A. Salazar-Fernando and Monina Arevalo-Zenarosa; Id. At 40-51.

3 Id. At 53-55.

4 In Civil Case No. C-19938, dated August 18, 2003; id. At 81-93.

5 RTC Records, p. 540.

6 Id. at 545.

7 Id. at 548.

8 Id. at 502.

9 TSN dated June 30, 2003, p. 657.

10 Id. at 658.

11 TSN dated May 19, 2003, p. 399.

12 TSN dated June 17, 2003, p. 542.

13 RTC Records, p. 503.

14 TSN dated June 17, 2003, p. 507; and TSN dated June 30, 2003, p. 663.

15 RTC Records, p. 552.

16 RTC Records, p. 7.

17 Including Letran High School Principal Ma. Teresa Suratos.

18 RTC Records, p. 15.

19 TSN dated January 31, 2003.

20 TSN dated February 5, 2003 and March 31, 2003.

21 TSN dated May 19, 2003.

22 TSN dated June 17, 2003.

23 TSN dated June 30, 2003.

24 Judge Antonio J. Fineza, presiding.

25 Rollo, pp. 90-91.

26 Id. at 93.

27 Id. at 55.

28 Rollo, p. 19. The present petition assigned the following errors:

ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS

WITH DUE RESPECT, THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION AND COMMITTED SERIOUS ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT HELD THAT I DUE PROCESS ATTENDED THE SANCTION IMPOSED BY RESPONDENTS ON PETITIONER KIM JUST BECAUSE THEY REQUIRED HIM TO EXPLAIN IN WRITING (WITHOUT ANY WRITTEN CHARGE INFORMING HIM OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF ACCUSATION AGAINST HIM) HIS MEMBERSIP [sic] IN FRATERNITY, WHICH HE DID BY DENYING IT, ALTHOUGH THE SANCTION IS BASED MERELY ON CONFIDENTIAL, UNDISCLOSED, UNVERIFIED OR UNSWORN STATEMENTS OF HIS CO-STUDENTS AND, WORSE, ON CONFIDENTIAL, UNDISCLOSED, UNVERIFIED AND DOUBLE HERESAY [sic] REPORT OF RESPONDENT SCHOOLíS DETACHMENT COMMANDER.

II WHEN IT CLEARED RESPONDENTS OF ANY LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES.

29 DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991 reads:

PROHIBITION OF FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS

To: Bureau Directors
Regional Directors
School Superintendents
Presidents, State Colleges and Universities
Heads of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities
Vocational School Superintendents/Administrators

1. Recent events call attention to unfortunate incidents resulting from initiation rites (hazing) conducted in fraternities and sororities. In some cases, problems like drug addiction, vandalism, absenteeism, rumble and other behavior problems in elementary and secondary schools were found to be linked to the presence of and/or the active membership of some pupils/students in such organizations.

2. Although Department Order No. 6, s. 1954 prohibits hazing in schools and imposes sanctions for violations, it does not ban fraternities/sororities in public and private secondary schools.

3. Considering that enrolments in elementary and secondary schools are relatively small and students come from the immediate communities served, the presence of fraternities/sororities which serve as socializing agents among pupil/student-peers is not deemed necessary. On the other hand, interest clubs and co-curricular organizations like the Drama Club, Math Club, Junior Police organization and others perform that same function and in addition develop pupil/student potentials.

4. Effective upon receipt of this order, fraternities and sororities are prohibited in public elementary and secondary schools. Penalty for non-compliance is expulsion of pupils/students.

5. Wide dissemination of and strict compliance with this Order is enjoined.

(Sgd.) ISIDRO D. CARIÑO
[emphasis ours]

30 See Judge Leynes v. Commission on Audit, 463 Phil. 557, 573 (2003).

31 See Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. TMX Sales, Inc., 205 SCRA 184, 188.

32 See Government of the P.I. v. Municipality of Binalonan, 32 Phil. 634, 636 (1915).

33 Paragraphs 1 and 2, DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991. We also note that the intent of the DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991 has been further clarified by the Department of Education itself in a 2006 issuance titled "REITERATING THE PROHIBITION OF THE PRACTICE OF HAZING AND THE OPERATION OF FRATERNITIES IN SORORITIES IN ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOLS." Department of Education Order No. 7, s. 2006 explicitly states, and we quote: "DECS Order No. 20, s. 1991, meanwhile, prohibits the operation of fraternities in public and private elementary and secondary schools."

34 G.R. No. 133763, November 13, 2002, 391 SCRA 522, 533. See also Association of International Shipping Lines, Inc. v. United Harbor Pilotsí Association of the Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 172029, August 6, 2008, 561 SCRA 284, 294.

35 Section 77, 1992 Manual of Regulations for Private Schools.

36 Tan v. Court of Appeals, 276 Phil. 227 (1991).

37 Espiritu Santo Parochial School v. NLRC, 258 Phil. 600 (1989).

38 CONSTITUTION, Article XIV, Section 3(2).

39 Jenosa v. Delariarte, G.R. No. 172138, September 8, 2010, 630 SCRA 295, 302.

40 See Miriam College Foundation, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 401 Phil. 431, 456 (2000).

41 Alcuaz v. Philippine School of Business Administration, 244 Phil. 8, 23 (1988), citing Ateneo de Manila University v. Court of Appeals, No. L-56180, October 16, 1986, 145 SCRA 100; and Licup v. University of San Carlos (USC), 258-A Phil. 417, 424.

42 Supra note 29.

43 RTC Records, pp. 536 -537.

44 TSN dated May 19, 2003, p. 348.

45 RTC Records, pp. 538-539.

46 TSN dated May 19, 2003, p. 350.

47 69 Phil. 635 (1940).

48 G.R. No. 99327, May 27, 1993, 222 SCRA 644, 656.

49 226 Phil. 596 (1986).

50 Id. at 603-604.

51 G.R. No. 127980, December 19, 2007, 541 SCRA 22, 52-53.

52 The students were enrolled at the De La Salle University and the College of Saint Benilde.

53 These documents were later formally offered in Civil Case No. C-19938 as Exhibits "7," "8," "9," "10," and "11" RTC Records, pp. 541-546.

54 Supra note 48.

55 Id. at 657-658.

56 RTC Records, p. 15.

57 TSN dated January 31, 2003, Record, pp. 116, 118, 123.

58 Records, pp. 548-549.

59 De La Salle University, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, supra note 51, at 51.

60 Gatus v. Quality House, Inc., G.R. No. 156766, April 16, 2009, 585 SCRA 177, 190.

61 Perez v. Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company, G.R. No. 152048, April 7, 2009, 584 SCRA 110, 123.

62 Gatus v. Quality House, Inc., supra note 59, at 190, citing Phil. Airlines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 87353, July 3, 1991, 198 SCRA. 748; see also Audion Electric Co. v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 106648, June 19, 1999, 308 SCRA 341.

63 Supra note 41.

64 Ibid.

65 274 Phil. 414 (1991).

66 Id. at 424, citing Garcia v. The Faculty Admission Committee, Loyola School of Theology, No. L-40779, November 28, 1975, 68 SCRA 277, 289.

67 See the RH' Decision, p. 92.

68 TSN dated February 5. 2003, pp. 242 to 243.


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