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Arresto Menor
I am a member of the Philippine Coast Guard since June 2005. In June 2011, I applied for PCG commissionship (Officer) and underwent all the application process. Luckily, I passed and was considered to be included in the list of those who will undergo the Coast Guard Officer’s Course. Our training started in August 2011, and we graduated in February 2012. After graduation, I was assigned at Coast Guard District Bicol in Legazpi City and was designated as the Operations Officer. Everything was fine until my Probationary Ensign Rank (Probationary 2nd Lieutenant) was terminated and was issued a reversion order to PO3 in November 2012.

Based on the resolution dated 29 November 2012 made by the Coast Guard internal Affairs Service, the unit which conducted investigation on 10 Feb 2011:

“The one year baccalaureate degree you obtained from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila cannot be considered an equivalent of the educational requirement provided in the PCG Circular on PCG Personnel which clearly states that only those with a “Diploma/Holder of baccalaureate degree requiring four (4) years or more of study are qualified to apply for CGOC. Nevertheless, at the time of your application for CGOC, you were still in the list of graduating students for March 2012 hence you have not yet actually earned the BPA degree.”

While it is true that when I joined the training in August 2011, I haven’t received my diploma in Bachelor in Public Administration. I was supposedly included in the October 2011 batch of graduating students, but since I was not physically present to process my graduation papers that time due to said CGOC training, my name was transferred to the list of March 2012 graduating batch. I have also disclosed to the Board of Admissions during our deliberation the real status of that I was still awaiting for the university’s graduation rites, that’s why I was not able to present my Diploma and TOR, and used the Certified True Copy of Grades and a certification that I have finished all the subjects and passed the comprehensive examination required to complete the degree. Despite my revelation, I was still considered and was made to take oath as Probationary Ensign.

I have filed for a petition to consider my officership to the PCG Command in November 2013 but was denied. A motion for reconsideration was also submitted in March 2014 but also denied with finality so I escalated the matter to the DOTC in July 2014. It’s almost a year now that I have not heard any about my case. The last time I called the DOTC Legal Department, they said that they are still awaiting for the CHED’s reply to their inquiry if indeed the BPA that PLM is offering is valid and equivalent to a regular four-year course.

The dilemma now is that the PLM claims and categorically stated that:
“The Bachelor in Public Administration (BPA) is an off-campus program offered by PLM equivalent to four year Bachelor’s degree program that can be completed in one year or so, offered to educational deficiency of government employees, who, while exposed to the public service as a profession, lack the conceptual and theoretical foundations for such profession.”

On the contrary, CHED averred that the PLM’s BPA did not meet the requirement as stipulated in CHED MEMO CIRCULAR No 6, series of 2010.  I asked them, if the PLM does not follow the prescribed standards of the Commission based on the Circular, why are they not suspending the PLM’s operation in offering the said BPA course. They said that they cant do that because PLM is a state university and is vested with its own power and has its own charter. Having said that, why cant they just issue a certification simply stating that the PLM’s BPA is valid, equivalent to any regular 4 yr course and is recognized by CHED?

Can the said CHED circular be applied retro actively to those who graduated from the course prior to 2010 when the said circular took effect? We were made to believe that the degree we acquired from PLM is equivalent to any four year degree course since it requires at least 72 units of previous college units plus a minimum of 3 yrs in the government service to qualify for the said off-campus program. I am very much worried  because the DOTC and PCG will rely on what the CHED will categorically state in its response. They will use it as a basis to come up with a resolution regarding my petition. In addition, I have two (2) other male contemporaries who are also BPA graduates of PLM. But I was the only one who was terminated.

Please enlighten me with this. I humbly ask for your legal opinion regarding this case. Is there a chance for me to be reinstated and receive all my corresponding salaries, privileges and benefits? I have been waiting for too long, and I am starting to lose hope. The reversion has caused me irreparable damage, for most of the coastguardsmen think that I intentionally falsified my application for commissionship and claimed that I am a baccalaureate degree holder.

Thank you very much in advance to those who will take time reading this and who will share their opinion regarding this case.

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