DAGUPAN CITY, Pangasinan – Pangasinan State University (PSU) is preparing to forge an agreement with the province for academic and development projects after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) revoked a 2016 resolution which declared persona non grata PSU president Dexter Buted
In a press conference on Monday, July 25, Buted said he would not get back at his detractors.
The SP’s decision came 14 days after Pangasinan’s new Governor Ramon Guico III met the university president to discuss possible partnerships.
Vice Governor and SP presiding officer Mark Lambino temporarily relinquished his seat on July 18 to move for Resolution No. 647-2022, which recalled Resolution No. 505-2016, which imposed the persona non grata status on Buted.
There was no opposition to Lambino’s proposal. Only two SP members abstained, including Chinky Perez-Tababa, who was part of the 9th Sanggunian that passed 2016 resolution.
Lambino claimed Buted’s persona non grata status relied on “baseless” allegations and was “politically motivated”.
Since Buted was installed as PSU President in 2015, his tenure has been rocked by controversies.
Buted has also faced suspensions and sanctions for various reasons.
The most serious, also linked to his being sanctioned, involved the 2016 SP probe into the university’s alleged exploitation of students undergoing OJT (on-the-job training).
The allegations surfaced after PSU San Carlos business administration student Dharel dela Cruz suffered a serious respiratory ailment.
The initial diagnosis was upper respiratory tract infection and pneumonia, which further deteriorated as the young workers were made to work overtime.
While Dela Cruz was the most serious case, several of his peers also felt sick.
Dela Cruz suspected his ailment came from working in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company where he inhaled chemicals.
The students also claimed PSU OJT coordinator Adonis Bautista told them to conceal their OJT status.
Lilian Dy, resource manager of the Bionic Care Human Resource Services in Laguna, confirmed that the OJTs did not disclose their identity as PSU students.
The SP summoned Buted and other university officials. The PSU president admitted ‘loopholes and problems’ in the university’s OJT system.
He eventually stopped heeding the SP’s invitations, provoking the resolution for “persistent disregard of legal and official invitations by the legislative body of Pangasinan,” among other complaints.
At Monday’s press conference, Buted said it was the Board of Regents that directed him to stop attending the SP probe sessions.
“I was working at the pleasure of the board, not at the pleasure of the provincial capitol. We are independent in nature”, he said.
“As the university president, I am ministerial in nature”, he added.
In 2018, Buted and PSU-Binmaley Campus executive director Marcelo Gutierrez Jr. were suspended for nine months, after the Office of the Ombudsman found the duo guilty of oppression. Then-Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales signed the decision on a 2016 complaint filed by faculty member Ricardo Tapia.
Tapia said the two officials forced him to comply with his reassignment from the Binmaley campus to the Urdaneta City campus by withholding his pay and dropping him from the university’s list of employees due to ‘willful disobedience’.
The Civil Service Commission upheld Tapia, reversing the dismissal by its regional office.
Buted and Gutierrez went to the Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court, which turned them down on March 25, 2019.
In July 2021, the Ombudsman suspended Buted for simple neglect of duty.
Former PSU faculty member Galahad Randall Unciano also filed a complaint with the Ombudsman, saying Buted ignored a case he had filed against PSU-Urdaneta officials who refused to release the certificate of grades of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) scholars.
However, the Office of the Ombudsman later reversed Unciano’s complaint. Buted’s salary was eventually compensated back to him.
Buted’s supporters note that under his watch, the university achieved a Level 4 accreditation status. This is the highest certification a State University and College can get under the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities in the Philippines.
The PSU is also the first Philippine university to bag the Investors in People Gold Award, a UK government standard for people management, and the first higher education institution to receive the the Philippine Quality Award Level III or the Mastery in Quality Management from the Department of Trade and Industry. – Rappler.com