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ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – A local legislative inquiry over the Department of Education’s (DepEd) hiring process sparked tension between Zamboanga del Norte’s provincial board and the province’s schools division after its head declined to face a committee of Zamboanga del Norte lawmakers to shed light on the matter.
The provincial board’s education committee had invited Zamboanga del Norte Schools Division superintendent Roy Tuballa to answer questions because there were complaints over the division’s hiring procedure for 279 administrative officer positions.
Officials said the complainants were mostly the “top-ranked candidates” who “qualified,” but were not included in the list of appointments.
Provincial board member Patri Chan, the chairperson of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Education, told the local legislature on Monday, April 24, that Tuballa sent a three-page letter that passed off as “arrogant, egotistic, self-centered, defensive, and humiliating.”
Chan said Tuballa also insinuated that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan members did not know their job as legislators.
In his letter, Tuballa stated, “The undersigned has no intention to attend the scheduled hearing for being an ultra vires act as the subject matter of this hearing exceeds the authority of the committee.”
The SP’s majority floor leader, Peter Co, disagreed with Tuballa that a provincial board inquiry into the Zamboanga del Norte Schools Division’s hiring process would be beyond the SP’s authority.
“Anything that tends to affect the state, the quality of education, and the stability of the teaching profession, and the persons who directly and indirectly interact with our students and community in the entire province are proper subjects of our inquiry,” Co told Rappler on Tuesday, April 25.
Officials said the committee was tasked to conduct the inquiry after Zamboanga del Norte Vice Governor Julius Napigquit received complaints about the hiring process for the administrative officer positions.
Some 1,172 applicants underwent DepEd’s ranking system, and many of them allegedly emerged as “top-ranked candidates.” A part of a letter sent to Napigquit read that “without our knowledge, our names were not included on the list of appointments.”
Officials said the schools division ranked those who applied from 1st to 278th. Of the 1,172 applicants, 70 were not included in the 278 but were allegedly appointed.
Chan said those who brought the matter to the provincial board felt that this was unfair to those who were in the top 298.
In his letter, Tuballa also said that being the appointive authority, his “discretion… will prevail as long as the applicant possesses the minimum qualification required by law.”
He cited Section 7, paragraph C(3) of Republic Act 9155, which instituted a framework of governance for basic education, and established authority and accountability in the DepEd.
Tuballa said the process of hiring employees is through the Civil Service and DepEd’s Merit Selection Plan and System of Ranking Position, which is “the hierarchical arrangement of positions from highest to lowest, which shall serve only as a guide in determining the appointment by the appointing authority.”
Napigquit asked, “But that is exactly what we have wanted to know. What’s the purpose of a ranking system if it is not followed?”
The provincial board members agreed to invite Tuballa again, but this time, to shed light on the matter before the SP as a committee of the whole.
“We still need the information and data about the subject matter concerned, and if he still refuses, well, we don’t have the power to hold him in contempt,” Co said. – Rappler.com