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2 professors to sue business school

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TWO professors from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) are expected to file a complaint against school officials after both were suspended for demanding salary hikes for employees worth nearly a billion pesos.
Emmanuel A. Leyco, who specializes in public finance, told BusinessMirror that he, together with fellow professor and Harvard Business School graduate Victor Limlingan will file a complaint Friday at the Department of Labor and Employment, claiming that both of them were victims of “illegal suspension,” arising from an order issued July 9, 2007 by AIM President Francis Estrada.
In a text message sent to BusinessMirror, Leyco said that the case, which will be filed against the school’s Board of Trustees and its President, will demand “compensatory, moral, and punitive damages,” owing to their suspension which will end July 8, 2008. Leyco failed to indicate an amount for the said damages.
Leyco and Limlingan, President and Chairman, respectively of the Asian Institute of Management Faculty Association (AFA), were suspended after both submitted a letter to the school’s board of trustees last February, demanding additional compensation.
The letter asserted that a law—Republic Act 6728—entitled AIM’s 40-strong faculty members and 100 or so employees to receive 70 percent of the school’s tuition fee increases.
According to its calculations, the AFA document said that AIM employees should receive some P985 million. The said law, enacted in 1989, amended Presidential Decree 451, issued in 1974, increasing employees’ share from 60 percent.
For its part, an AIM statement faxed to BusinessMirror said that the claim had “no substantiation whatsoever.”
“The distribution of the faculty share was effectively restored in February 2007,” the same statement said, adding that the institute “has accordingly not violated PD 451 and RA 6728.” The statement failed to elaborate.
Moreover, the AIM statement said that the AFA letter was submitted during AIM’s Leadership Week, a special event regularly attended by the school’s trustees and board of governors, which allegedly led the school’s stakeholders to express deep concern over the issue.
This, in turn, caused Estrada to suspend Leyco and Limlingan, citing “dysfunctional behavior.”
In a faxed statement sent by AIM to BusinessMirror, the two foreign-educated professors were suspended because “management received several letters of concern from various stakeholders who believe that the large unsubstantiated claim in the AFA letter and the timing of its release and the manner of its distribution show that the letter was intended to embarrass or damage the institute rather than raise a legitimate claim.”
For his part, Leyco said that the suspension orders against them were implemented without due process, forcing them to seek temporary relief from the National Labor Relations Commission. The relief was not granted.
The document which sought a temporary restraining order from the NLRC said that the suspension order “should have been undertaken by a committee convened by the Institute’s Dean.”
“Francis Estrada has exercised arbitratriness in managing the school,” Leyco told BusinessMirror in a separate interview Wednesday night. “There has been no consultation, no due process and he comes up with unilateral decisions that hurt individuals.”
Moreover, Leyco on Thursday said that a separate order issued by Estrada barred him from entering the school and using the facilities. In a separate text message, Leyco claimed that “[Estrada] did not want the graduate students ‘distracted’ from their studies.”

From the Oversight Department. Although this piece was published Friday, September 14, 2007 at BusinessMirror, the paper I work for, it contains a few errors, all of which are mine. First, I failed to mention that tuition of AIM, Asia’s first business school, is based on the US dollar to give readers a perspective vis-a-vis the billion peso salary claim. Second, I also failed to indicate that I have undertaken all possible attempts to get the side of Francis Estrada, AIM President. Although I was already writing the story as of six-fifteen in the evening of Thursday, September 13, 2007, I was still hoping that Estrada—or any of the school’s representatives—would call me for a phone interview. Instead, what I got was a statement which was faxed as soon as I emailed Estrada—through AIM’s Edythe Bautista—a set of questions. As of this writing, the same questions have yet to be answered. Third, and perhaps more important, Leyco and Limlingan didn’t file their complaint at the Department of Labor and Employment. They filed it at the National Labor Relations Commission, an agency under the DOLE. Previously, the two asked the NLRC to stop AIM from enabling their suspension. Since they were unsuccessful, they converted their earlier case—which was a request for a temporary restraining order—into a case against their illegal suspension.

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