MANILA, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman again dismissed former Commission on Higher Education (CHED) executive director Julito Vitriolo on Monday, December 16, due to “conduct prejudicial to public interest” and “simple misconduct.”
Vitriolo was a career official at the CHED, who was first dismissed in 2017 but had held on to his post as executive director.
CHED said the latest dismissal was based on a case filed by former chairperson Patricia Licuanan, after Vitriolo called for her resignation. The move, CHED said, “overstepped the bounds of propriety and ethical standards” and “tarnished the image of his office as he created an atmosphere of leadership impasse within CHED and sowed disunity.”
The decision comes with an accessory penalty for Vitriolo to no longer be employed in government.
Vitriolo was also ordered suspended for 3 months by Ombudsman Samuel Martires in October for his memorandum recommending that CHED issue a provisional permit in favor of a private school.
What case? The Office of the Ombudsman, under Conchita Carpio Morales, earlier dismissed Vitriolo in January 2017 for gross neglect of duty, misconduct, inefficiency, and incompetence for allowing an illegal diploma mill at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Vitriolo was found guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, incompetence, and inefficiency. The Ombudsman said he 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 Rodrigo 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 given to Cinderella Jaro.
CHED Chairperson Prospero de Vera said he "fully supports the efforts of the Ombudsman to expedite action on cases against public officials."
"As part of our commitment to fully support the efforts of the Ombudsman to cleanse the bureaucracy and instil good governance, CHED will make sure that the commission is a bastion of good governance practices," he added. – Janella Paris/Rappler.com