CHED executive director post still ‘on hold,’ says OIC De Vera

Mara Cepeda
CHED executive director post still ‘on hold,’ says OIC De Vera
Former CHED Executive Director Julito Vitriolo wants to be reinstated, but OIC Prospero de Vera III says they will only recognize whomever President Rodrigo Duterte appoints

MANILA, Philippines – The position of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) executive director may now be vacant, but Julito Vitriolo still cannot return to his old post. 

This is the view of CHED officer-in-charge and commissioner Prospero de Vera III, who was asked for the status of the executive directorship following the resignation of Karol Mark Yee early in February. 

“The ED position is on hold until the President acts on it, and all matters are being done by the deputy executive director. So that’s the hierarchy on the administrative [matters in CHED],” said De Vera on Friday, February 16.

Yee resigned from his post on February 1 after allegedly receiving “unceasing harassment and relentless threats” since President Rodrigo Duterte appointed him to succeed Vitriolo in July 2017.

Yee left the commission just two weeks after the forced resignation of former chairperson Patricia Licuanan, against whom Duterte said he threatened to file a case if she did not step down.

According to De Vera, CHED is not recognizing any person as executive director for now because the President is yet to sign a document specifying who Yee’s replacement will be.

“Number one, because the President has not given us a piece of paper on Mark Yee. And more important, because the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) has not reached finality. There’s 15 days for the complainants to file a motion with the Supreme Court, and that 15 days has not lapsed,” said De Vera.

He was referring to the CA decision in August 2017 that reversed the Ombudsman’s order to suspend Vitriolo as CHED executive director in January 2017.

Vitriolo was suspended in relation to an allegedly irregular 1996 agreement between the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and the National College of Physical Education to offer diploma programs.

Vitriolo tried to return to his post after the CA ruling, but Licuanan did recognize him, sparking a power struggle in CHED.  

Upon Yee’s resignation, Vitriolo had said he is “hopeful that the present commission will now respect the court order and uphold the rule of law” regarding his reinstatement.

Rappler has reached Vitriolo for comment but he has yet to reply as of posting time. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.