CHED's De Vera dares Vitriolo to file charges vs all comissioners
MANILA, Philippines – Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Officer-in-Charge Prospero De Vera III said former CHED executive director Julito Vitriolo should file a case against all CHED commissioners if he thinks he is being kept from reassuming his post.
De Vera made the challenge in response to Vitriolo’s move filing criminal and administrative complaints against him before the Office of the Ombudsman. He said he found it “disconcerting” he was being singled out since all actions taken by CHED are decided on not by him alone, but by all members of the commission.
“Charge everyone, charge all the commissioners. All the decisions of the commission is a collective decision. No member of the commission can unilaterally or on his own decide for the commission. We always discuss it then we take a vote,” De Vera said during a press briefing on Tuesday, September 18.
To further prove his point, De Vera said he was in no authority to reinstate Vitriolo as appointments were done by the Office of the President.
“I cannot appoint anybody, its not within the powers of the chair of the commission to appoint. Those positions, the executive director, deputy executive director, all directors of CHED are presidential appointees,” De Vera said.
He added, “So my suggestion is, he charges all appointees of President Duterte.”
Why a case was filed against De Vera: Vitriolo’s filing of charges is the latest move in a power struggle to resume his post as CHED executive director.
Vitriolo was dismissed from his post by then-Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales in January 2017 in relation to the 1996 agreement between the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) and the National College of Physical Education (NCPE) to operate diploma programs using PLM's facilities, which was then later found to be irregular.
Vitriolo was found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, incompetence, and inefficiency. The Ombudsman said also violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for failing to investigate and stop NCPE's diploma programs.
The Court of Appeals 12th Division later dismissed these charges after concluding that these were "too harsh" and "disproportionate” to Vitriolo's offense. But by that time, President Duterte had already appointed another person for the post of executive director.
Following Vitriolo's dismissal in July 2017, Duterte appointed Karol Mark Yee as the executive director. But Yee resigned after two weeks over ‘relentless’ threats and the post has since been appointed to Cinderella Jaro.
Following orders: De Vera maintained he had no power to act on Vitriolo’s case as he simply follows order of the President.
“All the actions of the commission were guided by the legal opinion of the Office of the president, by the Civil Service Commission, and by the legal position of the Ombudsman,” he said.
Apart from following orders, De Vera also said he was only keeping with decisions made “long before” he was officer-in charge.” Former CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan refused to acknowledge Vitriolo as the commission’s executive director after he lost his post.
“That is a decision of the commission even before it took office. That was decision done by the commission when the chair was Patricia Licuanan not Prospero De Vera,” he said.
He added, “Remember CHED is under the office of the president so whatever the decisions of the executive secretary, we are mandated to implement it.” – Rappler.com