Surigao students call for college president’s exit

SURIGAO CITY — Faculty members and students of the state-owned Surigao State College and Technology (SSCT) demanded the ouster of its president, Engineer Henry S. Lañada.

The students and faculty insisted that Lañada failed to disclose that he ran but lost in the mayoralty race in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro last May 2004.

Petitioners, mostly officials of the faculty association and supreme student government, claimed that Lañada was appointed SSCT president last March 4, 2004, two months short of the election laws’ prohibition to appoint anyone seeking an elective position to public office.

For that, faculty member Edwin Gumatao, SSCT Civil Technology instructor, filed last December 5, 2006 an administrative complaint against Lañada before the Ombudsman.

Late afternoon Wednesday, the school’s Board of Trustees held a meeting inside the Education and Media Resource Center of the school with Commission on Higher Education Commissioner Dr. Nona S. Ricafort, the current SCSCT Board of Trustees chair.

During that time, 40 students held a lightning picket rally calling for Lañada’s ouster and conducted a vigil outside the school premises. A melee almost ensued when policemen called up by Lañada started to disperse the ranks of the rallyists estimated to be composed of more than 80 placard-bearing students.

One of the organizers of the rally, SSCT Student Supreme Government president Feddilane Apole said that had it not been for the dispersal of the policemen many could have joined the picket demanding Lañada’s ouster.

SSCT faculty president Dr. Esperanza Dumaicos and faculty union president Jose Balili support the move for Lañada’s ouster. They said Lañada displayed a “dictatorial attitude” towards his subordinates, which caused most of the faculty members to complain.

“He (Lañada) is not a good leader and team builder, he presumes to know everything that’s why he failed to consult us, his subordinates,” the two faculty members said. Both claimed they were expecting the Board of Trustees to discuss in their meeting Tuesday night the signing bonus it has been asking for months now “but they seemed to play deaf and mute about it.”

The two officials said SSCT has about 288 teaching and non-teaching staff with more than 6,000 students mostly coming from poor families who wanted to avail of low tuition fees.

Unlike other private schools here, which charges P250 to P300 per unit, SCSCT only charges P80 to P150 per unit, SSCT Administative Officer Jocelyn T. Medina said.