Lanao teachers jubilant over CA decision PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 15 December 2015 11:17

MARAWI CITY — Teachers in Lanao del Sur are jubilant over a ruling by the Court of Appeals (CA) that their recalcitrant superintendent had erred in adjusting her age to preclude retirement in 2013.

The erstwhile superintendent of public schools in Lanao del Sur, Mona Macatanong, has been insisting she will retire in October 2016 yet, even as government records indicates she turned 65 on October 18, 2013.

Macatanong had earlier secured a questionable ruling from a Marawi City court stating she was younger than her entry on a standard government data sheet which she filled out when she applied for a teaching position in a public school more than three decades ago.

Macatanong’s subordinates in Lanao del Sur, among them her relatives, had ranted on the controversial court ruling, which was for them a serious indiscretion, meant to prolong her stay as division superintendent.

The CA found out early this month that Macatanong had indeed reached the mandatory retirement age in 2013 and that there is no way now she can hold on to the post she refuses to relinquish to a successor, in total disregard of civil service laws.

Macatanong has been defying orders from the Department of Education in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DepEd-ARMM) to vacate her office, causing administrative constraints stifling the agency’s operation in Lanao del Sur.

Reporters and ARMM officials, among them John Magno, regional DepEd-ARMM secretary, have been receiving text messages since last week from teachers in Marawi City and in Lanao del Sur expressing recognition of the CA’s December 4 ruling on Macatanong’s case.

“This is another feat achieved as a result of the reform efforts of the administration of (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman,” said a text message from a school official in Tamparan town in Lanao del Sur.

Lawyer Kirby Abdullah, who is Hataman’s assistant secretary for Maguindanao province, said the CA ruling on Macatanong’s reluctance to retire was a “victory” against corruption.

“This laudable CA ruling is another nail that can shut for good the coffin of corruption in the ARMM’s education department,” Abdullah said.

The DepEd-ARMM was touted as the most corrupt agency in the autonomous region during the time of past regional governors.

The agency was plagued with ghost teachers and non-existent schools that received monthly operation funds before Hataman assumed as appointed caretaker of the regional government in December 2011.

Hataman and Magno had managed to remove all fictitious names from the agency’s old payrolls via a cleansing process that lasted from early 2012 to middle of 2014.

Hataman, elected as ARMM’s eighth regional governor during the region’s May 13, 2013 polls, also replaced hundreds of unlicensed teachers, hired anomalously by past administrations, with duly licensed mentors.

Magno said on Monday he will consult lawyers in the executive department of ARMM on how to enforce the CA ruling on Macatanong, in line with their efforts to revitalize DepEd-ARMM’s operations in Lanao del Sur, made troublesome by her defiance of civil service rules.

“Mona Macatanong is deemed to have already reached the compulsory retirement age of sixty five (65) by October 18, 2013 and has no right to continue or prolong the tenure with DepEd-ARMM,”  the December 4 CA ruling stated.

The CA said the retired Macatanong is no longer allowed to continue receiving salaries and emoluments from the DepEd-ARMM.

The CA also overruled Macatanong’s assertion she is to retire on October 2016 yet by clarifying that she retired from government service in 2013 based on documents obtained from the education department.