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STI owes WNU P50 million: CA ruling

The Court of Appeals turned down an appeal filed by STI Education Systems Holdings Inc. questioning a lower court decision that ordered it to pay P50 million to shareholders of the West Negros University to complete its P400-million purchase made in 2013.

In a 15-page decision dated May 26, 2021 and written by Associate Justice Roberto Quiroz, the CA dismissed the Tanco Group’s appeal and affirmed the decision of the Bacolod City Regional Trial Court Branch 42 for STI to pay the sum representing the balance of the sale.

STI claimed that it withheld the P50 million since the Bacolod City-based WNU failed to obtain the permits for its Maritime Engineering courses.

WNU agreed to deliver the Commission on Higher Education permit, that STI said was one of its primary considerations in acquiring WNU.

The CA, however, ruled that there was no provision in the final sale agreement that indicated that STI could validly withhold payment of the balance before the delivery of the permit.

“As correctly held by the RTC, courts cannot make for the parties better or more equitable agreements than they themselves have been satisfied to make, or rewrite contracts because they operate harshly or inequitably as to one of the parties, or alter them for the benefit of one party and to the detriment of the other, or by construction, relieve one of the parties from the terms which he voluntarily consented to, or impose on him those which he did not,” the CA ruled.

STI has 77 schools nationwide, comprised of 66 colleges and 11 education centers.

Of the total, 32 college campuses are wholly-owned while 34 others are operated by franchisees.

When it announced the purchase, STI said it would enable them to expand the “network of educational institutions as well as its course offerings at the tertiary level.” The purchase also prepared STI Holdings “entry into basic education which is the focus of the government’s K-12 program and into the graduate school level which is critical in updating the development of human capital in the country.”*PNA

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