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UP BOR v CA GR 134625`
ISSUE: Whether or not Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine was deprived of her right to substantive due process.
FACTS: Respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine enrolled in the doctoral program in Anthropology of the UP CSSP Diliman. She already completed the units of course work required and finished her dissertation and was ready for oral defense. After going over her dissertation, Dr. Medina informed CSSP Dean Paz that she committed plagiarism. However, respondent was allowed to defend her dissertation. Four out of the five panelists gave a passing mark except Dr. Medina. UP held meeting against her case and some of the panels indicated disapproval. Hence, she expressed her disappointments over the CSSP administration and warned Dean Paz. However, Dean Paz request the exclusion of Celine’s name from the list of candidates for graduation but it did not reach the Board of Regents on time, hence Celine graduated. Dr. Medina formally charged private respondent with plagiarism and recommended that the doctorate granted to her be withdrawn. Dean Paz informed private respondent of the charges against her. CSSP College Assembly unanimously approved the recommendation to withdraw private respondent's doctorate degree. The Board sent her a letter indicating that they resolved to withdraw her Doctorate Degree recommended by the University Council. She sought an audience with the Board of Regents and/or the U.P. President, which request was denied by President Hence, Celine then filed a petition for mandamus with a prayer for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and damages, alleging that petitioners had unlawfully withdrawn her degree without justification and without affording her procedural due process.
RATIO DECIDENDI: No. Respondent Arokiaswamy William Margaret Celine was indeed heard several times. Several committees and meetings had been formed to investigate the charge that private respondent had committed plagiarism and she was heard in her defense. In administrative proceedings, the essence of due process is simply the opportunity to explain one's side of a controversy or a chance seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. A party who has availed of the opportunity to present his position cannot tenably claim to have been denied due process. In the case at bar, Celine was informed in writing of the charges against her and given opportunities to answer them. She was asked to submit her written explanation which she submiited. She, as well, met with the U.P. chancellor and the members of the Zafaralla committee to discuss her case. In addition, she sent several letters to the U.P. authorities explaining her position. It is not tenable for private respondent to argue that she was entitled to have an audience before the Board of Regents. Due process in an administrative context does not require trial-type proceedings similar to those in the courts of justice. It is noteworthy that the U.P. Rules do not require the attendance of persons whose cases are included as items on the agenda of the Board of Regents.
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