MANILA, Philippines -- The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Monday announced that it will issue a show-cause order to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) and National University (NU), after completing its investigation on the alleged violations of quarantine protocols done by the school's varsity teams.
The UST men's basketball team was found to have conducted a training camp in Sorsogon, the hometown of former head coach Aldin Ayo, since June -- a move that has had massive repercussions on the program.
Meanwhile, the NU women's volleyball team was found to have stayed in a training facility in Calamba, Laguna.
"I don't think there is any denial on those things," said CHED chairman Popoy de Vera. "Those are some of the factual events that we included in our report."
This report has been submitted to the Department of Justice and the Department of Interior and Local Government, who will study it to determine if the schools violated the rules of the Inter-Agency Task Force.
De Vera explained that further investigations will be done by the DOJ and the DILG, particularly as there may have been local ordinances or travel restrictions violated when the teams went to the provinces for their training camps.
Meanwhile, the CHED itself will send a show-cause letter to both universities, asking them to explain "why sanctions should not be imposed on their personnel for their failure to comply with the guidelines of the commission."
De Vera made it clear that as early as March, the commission already ordered higher education institutions in Luzon to arrange for the immediate departure of their students, faculty and staff to their hometowns. In May, they issued another advisory prohibiting schools to conduct mass gatherings -- including ceremonies.
At the moment, however, it is too early to say if CHED will impose any sanctions on either university.
"The intention of the show-cause order is to ensure there is due process in the investigation," De Vera said. "The intention of the show-cause order is to allow UST to answer."
"Let's not talk about penalties at this point," he stressed. "We cannot determine penalties until we are able to determine whether violations were done. It's premature to say if CHED will punish UST. We will first read the response to the show-cause order."
"That is why there is a show-cause order. That is why we're submitting the fact-finding to the DOJ and DILG, so they can look at the alleged violations in the context of the IATF rules. It is too early to conclude, because what has been completed is the fact-finding portion. It's up to the DOH and DILG to probe into this deeper," he stressed.