Ombudsman orders dismissal of CHED official
05 January 2017
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales has ordered the dismissal from the service of Executive Director Julito Vitriolo of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) after he was found guilty of Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty, Incompetence and Inefficiency and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act No. 6713). Vitriolo is also set to face trial before the Sandiganbayan for violation of Sections 3(a) and 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (Republic Act No. 3019).
The indictment comes after investigation showed that Vitriolo “acted with gross negligence for failing to heed the demand to investigate and stop the diploma mill, and for allowing the Pamantansan Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) to issue trans of record and diplomas based on a suspended education program.”
The records disclosed that in 1996, PLM and the National College of Physical Education (NCPE) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) where “NCPE would use the facility of PLM without compensation but the PLM would select the faculty members for the agreed program and issue diplomas to the graduates.” In 2008, former PLM President Adel Tamano suspended the MOA in view of the 2007 Commission on Audit finding that the agreement was prejudicial to the interest of the university.
In 2010 and despite its suspension, Vitriolo asserted that the tran of records could be issued by PLM to the graduates under the PLM-NCPE MOA “based on vested rights.” It was also established that respondent failed to comply with requests for information on a program of education or for investigation on the existence or implementation of such a program. Complainant Oliver Felix, a former PLM faculty, alleged that as early as 2011, he already requested Vitriolo to investigate allegations that the PLM was engaged in diploma mill operations.
In the Joint Resolution, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales stated that “Vitriolo failed to realize that such omission would result in adverse consequences to public funds spent in the implementation of the suspended PLM-NCPE MOA, and to 703 students under the MOA who had to suffer financial reverses for spending time and money for an education that was worthless in the eyes of the law.”
Vitriolo was also faulted for failing to reply to letter-requests for information on the PLM-NCPE MOA and for investigation of the alleged diploma mill, within the 15-day period prescribed by Sec. 5(a) of R.A. No. 6713. “By sheer inattention to communications addressed to him, the respondent showed not even the slightest care about requests from the public,” added Ombudsman Morales.
The questioned acts and omission of Vitriolo were further aggravated by the fact that this is not the first offense where respondent was penalized by the Office. Based on Ombudsman records, Vitriolo was ordered suspended for one month without pay for misconduct in May 1999. In that case, the Ombudsman held that “by signing a memorandum when he had lost the authority to do so, respondent showed his disregard for proper norms of official conduct resulting in the exacerbation of the hemorrhaging internal conflict at the CHED connected to its leadership crisis.”
“Any public official who transgresses the standards for good public service or causes such transgression must bear the consequences,” stated Ombudsman Morales.###