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MSUS president to finish term beyond retirement age - officials



MSU System President Dr.Habib W. Macaayong has vowed to fix operational backlogs & other campus woes within his first 100 days in office as he launched measures against the office's perceived reclusive & authoritarian leadership during the recent flag raising ceremony held at Isidro Quadrangle main campus.  PHOTO SUPPLIED BY AL MARADJ M.

By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA and ASA "AL MARADJ" MADALE

The new president of the Mindanao State University System (MSUS) is likely to finish his six-year term of office even as cases against him are filed in the Supreme Court to declare unconstitutional his appointment for violating the prohibition on midnight appointment and for lack of the required search and screening of applicants to the position.

This is the contention of officials of the university who, citing legal bases, said that Dr. Habib W. Macaayong is likely to continue serving as president of the premier institution of higher education and one of the country's largest state-owned school.

It shall be recalled that On March 8, 2016, President Benigno Aquino III appointed Macaayong as MSUS president and took his oath before Justice Undersecretary Zabedin Azis.

On March 11, he assumed office in a simple turn-over ceremony attended by outgoing president Dr. Macapado A. Muslim and other University officials.

However, MSU Assistant Professor Said Makil filed a petition in the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional President Aquino's appointment of Dr. Macaayong as president of the MSUS for violating the prohibition on midnight appointment and for lack of the required search and screening of applicants to the position.

Makil also asked the SC to issue an injunction, like a temporary restraining order (TRO), or a status quo ante order (SQAO) , that would stop Macaayong from discharging the duties of MSUS president.

Makil also claimed that his close supporters mislead President Aquino III to appoint Dr. Macaayong considering that the latter will be retiring on July 13,2016 by compulsory retirement at age 65 years old which is allegedly contrary to the existing rules and regulation of the Civil Service Commission.

Lawyer Macmac Baunto, MSU assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs, and Professor Rasid Paca, vice president for planning and development in the main campus cited the resolution of the Civil Service Commission No. 01-1645 dated October 12,2001, "Republic Act No. 8494 (TIFCORP Charter) specifically provides for a fixed term of office of six (6) years for its President.”

They stressed, “Thus applying this rule of law, Macaayong shall serve as President of MSUS for a period of six years even if it would mean rendering service beyond the compulsory retirement age of sixty-five (65) years.”

They said, Macaayong may be removed from office only for a cause or by reason of incapacity, or voluntary retirement or resignation.

Said law, Baunto and Paca emphasized, which is a special law, shall prevail over other laws of general application should inconsistency arise.

They also said that MSUS Charter as well, which is a special law, categorically fixes the term of office of its President for a period of six years, and that the same must prevail over all general laws.

"A term' of office fixed by law allows the appointee to hold office, perform its functions, and enjoy its privileges and emoluments until the expiration of said period. It is the definite period of time prescribed by law by which an officer may hold office," Atty. Baunto and Prof Paka said.

They cited Ambas vs Buenaseda, 201 SCRA 308 as among legal bases of their contention.

Baunto and Paka argued that in this regard, Macaayong is entitled to serve the entire term of six years as President of the Mindanao State University System together with all the functions, responsibilities as well as benefits attached to the position. TNRS

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