Calls mount anew to oust CMU prexy

Beltran relayed via telephone Thursday legislators reached the "compromise" decision in order to prevent the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to be used for such a "personal matter."

Reportedly, the board members engaged in a "shouting match" and "heated talks" in a closed-door discussion at the SP lounge next to the session hall.

Beltran said the debate started when majority floor leader Camilo Pepito moved to recall the resolution backing Lao, which they passed on second reading on May 14 but agreed not to dispense with the third reading, as has been the practice, to finalize styling.

The board members agreed to pass the so-called "toned down" resolution after proponents agreed to get rid of portions of the measure, which Pepito described as clearing Lao of the accusations and "using" the legislators.

Beltran reportedly seconded the motion but board member Glenn Peduche, among Lao’s supporters, objected, triggering the declaration by Vice Gov. Alex Calingasan for a recess.

Lawyer Oliver Owen Garcia, yet another of Lao’s supporters, said last week they do not mind the toned down resolution since the expression of commendation and recognition of Lao's achievements in CMU is just to balance the negative image fed to the public.

Last year, the CMU board of regents extended Lao's presidency effective July 29, 2007 until July 28, 2010, which drew protests from inside the university, other sectors such as the Catholic Church and even Malacanang.

The Presidential Management Staff questioned the extension, as quoted by Beltran in the second resolution, saying the CMU board "overstretched the interpretation" of a section in the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997.

The PMS reportedly "forwarded" a memorandum to CHED chair Romulo Neri to replace the CMU board chair-designate and influence the board to "direct or influence the board” to immediately recall the extension of Lao's presidency for being "null and void".

Before the provincial board deliberations on the CMU presidency, the Diocese of Malaybalay, led by the clergy, had asked heads of local government units in Bukidnon to persuade CHED to remove Lao as CMU president.

Fr. Dan Paciente, social action director of the diocese, told MindaNews they wan

An informed source said Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. has joined the call for Lao's ouster. Zubiri reportedly wrote a letter to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asking for the ouster.

Lao was first appointed as CMU president on July 29, 1999, his term ending on July 28, 2003. He was reappointed for another term until July 28, 2007.

Beltran, in his proposed resolution, cited that the Local Government Code has mandated LGUs to protect, defend and develop the welfare of their constituency. He said 80 percent of the student population of CMU are from Bukidnon.