On 5 January 2017, the Office of the Ombudsman furnished the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) with its Joint Resolution imposing the penalty of dismissal from the service (with the corresponding accessory penalties) on Executive Director Atty. Julito D. Vitriolo after finding him guilty of violations of Section 5 (a), (c), and (d) of Republic Act No. 6713 Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, inefficiency and incompetence.
In the same Joint Resolution, the Office of the Ombudsman, likewise, ordered the filing of a criminal case against Vitriolo, after it found probable cause to indict him for the offense of violation of Section 3 (a) and (e) of Republic Act No. 3019, otherwise known as the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act”.
The Joint Resolution resolves a complaint filed by a former faculty member of a local university against Atty. Vitriolo, after the latter failed to respond to a request for the conduct of an investigation on the alleged diploma mill at the institution. The Ombudsman found that “up until after five years from the original request of 21 May 2010 or on 3 August 2015, [Vitriolo] was still making referals to CHED offices that could take action on the request for certification or for the conduct of an investigation” and did not “provide any convincing reason for such unexplained foot-dragging.”
The Office of the Ombudsman meted the penalty of dismissal, noting that “this is not the first offense of the respondent that this Office [the Ombudsman] has penalized,” with reference to a previously imposed penalty of suspension for one month without pay for misconduct, after he signed a Memorandum without having the authority to do so.
“We will comply with the Order of the Office of the Ombudsman,” said CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan. “We have already directed our Human Resource Development Division to ensure that the Ombudsman’s order is strictly enforced and properly implemented, noting that, consistent with the law, rules, and jurisprudence on the matter, such an Order is immediately executory and ought to be implemented upon receipt.”
The CHED Chair assures the public that the Ombudsman’s decision will not hamper CHED’s operations focusing on key tactical and transformative strategies for upgrading the accessibility and quality of Philippine higher education.
CHED was created in 1994 through Republic Act No. 7722, or the “Higher Education Act of 1994”, with authority over public and private institutions of higher education as well as degree-granting programs in all post-secondary educational institutions.