On June 2, 2003, close to 50 persons what were described by eyewitnesses as “goons” entered three of Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA)’s five campuses in Dasmariñas, Cavite. In affidavits submitted to the court, school officials said that despite their pleas, the men wantonly took computers, air-conditioning units, speech laboratory equipment, various appliances, vehicles, and a total of PhP 208,000.00 in tuition collected that day. The men did all these upon the orders of Judge Dolores Español of the regional trial court in the neighboring town of Imus. Before the year ended, the Supreme Court reprimanded the judge, for ordering the confiscation of school properties without properly notifying ICA and its chief executive officer, Dr. Paulo C. Campos. Español’s order was cancelled and nullified, and she was eventually stripped of the civil case involving ICA.
It stemmed from a case that the AMA filed to acquire the school. At the time, the school already had a total of around 4,000 grade school and high school students in five campuses in different parts of Dasmariñas. In a rapidly industrializing town where real estate is at a premium, each ICA campus reportedly measures no less than five hectares. Its biggest branch, occupying a 10-hectare area that’s visible from the highway, was also near a property that AMA was renting.
In 2000, ICA and AMA signed a contract for AMA to lease ICA for around PhP 800,000.00 a month for 10 years. In 2003, Campos received from AMA a total of around Php 4,000,000.00 representing the bond, deposits, advance rental, and various fees. Shortly after, Dr. Campos learned that AMA was suing him and ICA for allegedly breaching their contract. AMA claimed that it was deceived into signing the agreement when one of the buildings being rented out was defective—a fact that, Campos claims, he didn’t hide during the negotiations through an official notice from the municipal engineer. Campos said AMA suddenly “became aggressive and wanted to buy” ICA. He felt that his refusal to sell was what triggered the case filed by AMA.
In Civil Case No. 1662-98, AMA demanded that it be reimbursed for some PhP 4 million that it had paid to ICA as five months’ security deposit and three months’ advance rental. Thus, the court order to confiscate ICA’s properties. AMA reportedly filed the information with a fiscal in Quezon City and was dismissed. It was refiled with another Quezon City prosecutor and was dismissed again. It was then filed with the Philippine Department of Justice, where it was also dismissed. 
Filed under: Controversies Surrounding the AMA Education System