NO TRESPASSING. Teachers and learners wait outside the campus of a public elementary school in Burauen town, Leyte after the property claimant padlocked the gate in this Sept. 7, 2022 photo. The Department of Education on Wednesday (Sept. 14) said the agency has filed cases against the claimants. (Photo courtesy of Gil Tamayo)

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Education (DepEd) has filed cases against two property claimants who padlocked the gate of a public elementary school in Burauen town, Leyte province three times last week.

Jasmin Calzita, DepEd Eastern Visayas information officer, told reporters on Wednesday that three counts of grave coercion were filed on Tuesday at the municipal trial court in Burauen town against Pergentino Pacala and his wife.

“Let the law take charge of this. DepEd will not tolerate such doing and we are taking legal actions. What is important now is that no one has attempted to disrupt classes again this week,” Calzita said.

The couple padlocked the school gate of Maghubas Elementary School for three mornings from Sept. 7 to 9 as Pergentino claimed that the school management have built classrooms in the adjacent lot outside of their donated property.

Pergentino is the son of Vicente who donated the lot for the school in 1966.

Teachers and learners waited outside the gate, disrupting class schedules.

School principal Herbert Del Pilar said they have the necessary documents to prove the family donated the lot to the government for the establishment of the campus.

“Our primary concern is the safety of school children who were traumatized by this experience. We asked help from the local police and village officials to help us secure the gate,” Del Pilar said in a phone interview.

The campus with 152 learners is along the town’s primary road in Maghubas village.

The school is about 44 kilometers south of this provincial capital. (PNA)