PATRICIA, LETTING SOLONS CHOOSE
CHED SCHOLARS IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Let Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Patricia Licuanan be told: IT IS ILLEGAL TO LET THE CONGRESSMEN CHOOSE WHO SHOULD BE THE SCHOLARS.
On 12 August 2014, Licuanan admitted that the CHED allowed the lawmakers to recommend scholars for the P4.1-billion Supplemental Budget but argued it is not against the ruling of the Supreme Court in striking down PDAF and DAP funds, reasoning out that the choices of the congressmen are anyway subjected to guidelines and that the funds are released directly to beneficiary students.
It is still unconstitutional, Patricia.
Allowing the congressmen to do it will make the CHED budget for scholars as one subject to the discretion of any person, even if he or she were a congressman or a congresswoman.
First, the Supreme Court declared that discretionary funds are unconstitutional, so much more is the violation against the Constitution if the power to choose how to spend the money is rested in the hands of the lawmakers.
Second, it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, which provision commands that those who are similar to each other must be treated similarly.
Between students who have no graces from lawmakers and students who have favors of the congressmen, there is no valid classification between these two groups of students if the classification is based on who you know.
The bases of choosing scholars must be based on a valid classification that does not amount to discrimination. Discrimination is the very evil prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause.
While there are various bases of classification that are not considered discriminatory, the CHED cannot discriminate those students who happened to be hated by their respective congressmen because this group of students voted for an opponent of the incumbent congressman in the last election.
So that even if the CHED will still subject the recommendees of the congressmen to other guidelines, it still violates the Equal Protection Clause because those who were not chosen by the lawmakers have no more chance to be subjected to guidelines and, consequently, have no more chance to be scholars.
If it were to suggest, some good bases of qualifications for scholars are:
(a) poverty, because favoring the poor does not offend the rich class;
(b) scholastic achievements, because picking up achievers in schools does not offend those who performed bad in academics;
(c) volunteers, because favoring volunteers willing to study special courses needed by the government will not offend who do not volunteer;
(d) poor academic performance, because favoring to choose poor academic performers as scholars will not offend the good performers for doing so can be argued as a way of helping the flunkers to at least come abreast or approximate the academic achievers;
(e) group in terms of the parents' occupation like fishermen to choose their kids for fishery courses, because it is not offending to people from other walks of life;
So stop it, Patricia.
IT'S WHOM YOU KNOW AND NOT WHAT YOU KNOW!