Bogus University Operating in La Union?

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – Parents and students sought assistance from the National Bureau of Investigation regional office here for the filing of class suit and criminal charges against the officials of a school operating for the past two years without registration from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and other government agencies.

Ruth Villaruz shows California University flyers. Photo by VICENTE ALHAMBRA, JR/NPN

Ruth Villaruz, mother of one the students, said they discovered that the California University – Foreign Credential Evaluation – (CU-FCE) Ideal Center based in Barangay Sevilla here, allegedly affiliated with the California University in Los Angeles, California, USA, is not CHED-registered and has no other documents from government agencies authorizing it to operate a private college school.

“We discovered that the school was not registered at CHED and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority. We found this out when we tried to enroll my daughter, who studied at the school, at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University ” Villaruz said.

She said that DMMMSU denied enrollment of his daughter and other students who also studied at the same school for the coming school year.

Cherrie Melanie Ancheta-Diego, CHED director in Region 1, in her reply to the letter of Mrs. Rebecca Carreon, another complainant-parent, certified that the California University in La Union is not in the list of “higher education institutions” issued with authority to operate higher education programs in Region 1.

“Sometime in September 2014, said institution applied for an authority to operate an auxiliary service for transnational education. However, it has not complied with the “policies, standards and guidelines for transnational education program,” Ancheta-Diego said.

Darlene Joy, daughter of Ruth and one of the students’ complainants who’s taking up Information Technology course at the said school, also inquired at TESDA about the existence of “applied studies diploma program” of the school. She was told that the school’s claim was spurious.

“The applied studies diploma program offered by the California University FCE Ideal Center in San Fernando City is not registered under the Unified Program Registration and Accreditation System of TESDA,” said Marissa Alcantara, TESDA provincial director, in her reply-letter to Darlene Joy on April 25, 2017.

The complainants, composed of more than 20 parents and students, claimed that they were surprised to see first and second year students together in one classroom, from different courses, attending the same subjects.


“I began to raise my doubts when I learned that the university does not collect tuition but only miscellaneous fees at P4, 000 per tri-semester without issuing official receipts,” Ruth said.

They said that the school authorities only issues provisional receipts which is not registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The school’s line of business registered at the Permits and Licenses Section of the city government of San Fernando was only “tutorial services.”

A website of the main California University Education based in Los Angeles has also posted a disclaimer proclaiming that CU-FCE in San Fernando City is not in any way affiliated, or franchise and is not its subsidiary as claimed by the incorporators led by John Kam Biak Chan Jr., the school’s president.

At least 30 students are still attending their classes at the school despite the CHED, TESDA and the California University Education’s affirmations on its illegal operation.

Chan allegedly admitted to Ruth that the school is not registered with CHED.

Charissa Paredes, the CU-FCE chief executive officer, said they did not need CHED certification “because they are not offering any CHED-related courses and what they are offering are non-degree courses and 2-year laderized course authorized in the US.”

“We are not yet authorized by CHED and TESDA because we are not yet offering local programs. What we are having right now is an international program,” Paredes said.

But the students insisted that the school is offering courses such as Information Technology, Applied Studies Diploma in Accounting Technology, Business Entrepreneurship, Hotel and Restaurant Management, Electronics and Engineering Technologies, among others. Jun Elias and William Garcia/