Saturday, September 30, 2017

Malacanang Affirms Vitriolo Dismissal

In a press conference in Malacañan, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella confirmed the position of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in enforcing the dismissal of Former CHED Executive Director Julito D. Vitriolo.

Citing guidance from the Office of the Executive Secretary (OES) and the Senior Deputy Executive Secretary (SDES), Secretary Abella stressed that, “the decision or order of the Ombudsman remains executory, notwithstanding any other decision of the Court of Appeals, which has not yet attained finality,” during a Palace news conference yesterday, 28 September.

Abella’s pronouncement also supports the 19 September official communication from Acting Executive Secretary Menardo I. Gueverra to CHED on the matter, Malacañan explained that “[a]s a rule, a judgment, final order, or resolution rendered by the CA may only be executed upon its finality. In the exceptional circumstances where the CA itself orders its decision to be immediately executory, they remain subject to the provisions on discretionary execution.”

The clarification came in light of Vitriolo’s insistence to resume his functions as Executive Director following the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision reinstating him, thereby causing confusion in the agency and delays in its operations.

Meanwhile, in a press conference held last Wednesday, 27 September, CHED Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan clarified that, “at the moment, we do have an Executive Director. He was appointed by the President, he has been there since June, and that is Mr. Karol Mark Yee.”

Licuanan likewise earlier released a Memorandum confirming and reiterating the CHED directive recognizing Yee as the Executive Director of the Commission, stating that all memoranda issued and circulated, documents transmitted, and communication signed by Vitriolo “shall have no legal effect whatsoever and is considered null and void ab initio.”

Vitriolo was dismissed last January 2017 by the Office of the Ombudsman after being found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, incompetence and inefficiency. However the Court of Appeals (CA) modified the decision of the Ombudsman in August, finding the penalty of dismissal to be harsh and reducing the same to a one month suspension.

Yee, previously the Program Director of the CHED K to 12 Transition Program, was appointed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as Executive Director IV, vice Julito Vitriolo, last July 14, 2017. He assumed the position in July 19, 2017 and has since served as CHED Executive Director.

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