MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said it and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will abide by the Court of Appeals (CA) decision to reinstate CHED Executive Director Julito Vitriolo.
"The Office of the President and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) will – of course – respect and abide by the decision and order of the Court of Appeals (CA)," said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Thursday, August 31.
The decision, made on August 17, orders that Vitriolo be allowed to return to his post immediately as executive director after the Office of the Ombudsman ordered his dismissal.
The Ombudsman charged Vitriolo with gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, inefficiency, and incompetence for failing to stop a "diploma mill." The CA 12th Division dismissed these charges after concluding that these were "too harsh" and "disproportionate” to Vitriolo's offense.
Thus, the CA said Vitriolo must be reinstated without diminution of salary and benefits.
CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan told Rappler in a text message that the commission was waiting for Malacañang's response to the CA decision.
"We also need instructions from the Office of the President because, as far as we are concerned, there is a sitting ED (executive director) appointed by the President," she said. (READ: Licuanan: Vitriolo has 'track record' of undermining past CHED chairs)
Karol Mark Yee was appointed CHED executive director after Vitriolo was ordered dismissed by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales.
The Ombudsman's dismissal order is 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.
The Ombudsman said its investigation showed that Vitriolo is guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, incompetence, and inefficiency; and that he violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for failing to investigate and stop NCPE's diploma programs.
Public funds were wasted as a consequence, Morales said. PLM is a municipal government-funded institution. – with a report from Mara Cepeda / Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.