Then-Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Executive Director IV Julito Vitriolo pleaded not guilty to the graft charge he is facing for allegedly allowing the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) to issue transcripts of record to graduates of a supposedly suspended education program in 2010.
Vitriolo, who is out on bail, was arraigned before the Sandiganbayan’s First Division on Friday morning.
In a charge sheet filed before the Sandiganbayan in August, the Office of the Ombudsman accused him of violating Section 3(e) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
The Ombudsman alleged in the charge sheet that Vitriolo “permitverbally the” PLM “to issue transcripts of record to its graduates, which the PLM and its officials implemented as in fact it issued transcripts of record and diplomas to said graduates even as the accused had prior knowledge… that as early as September 2008 the [then-]President of the PLM had suspended the Memorandum of Agreement between PLM and the National College of Physical Education [NCPE] that offered programs of Bachelor of Science and Masteral degrees in Physical Education…”
Vitriolo also allegedly knew “that, as of 2009, the NCPE, which changed its name to Integrated College of Physical Education and Sports [ICPES], was no longer on the list of the CHED as among the institutions of higher learning in the National Capital Region [Metro Manila]…”
Thereby, according to the charge sheet, he allegedly gave “unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference to the PLM and the NCPE/ICPES, as well as some graduates of the said programs, and caus[ed]undue injury to the government and damage to the quality of tertiary education.”
Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officers from causing undue injury to any party, or giving a private party unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of their official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
In August, the Ombudsman filed two graft cases before the Sandiganbayan against Vitriolo.
The Ombudsman accused him of violating Section 3(e) of the anti-graft law in Criminal Case No. SB-17-CRM-1568, and accused him of violating Section 3(a) of the same law in Criminal Case No. SB-17-CRM-1569.
In October, the Sandiganbayan’s First Division partly granted a motion earlier filed by Vitriolo who sought the dismissal of the cases.
The court droppeed Criminal Case No. SB-17-CRM-1569 because of the absence of an essential element of the offense charged.
“In this case, there is no proof of any consideration in the use of the influence. It is not alleged in the Information. There is no testimonial or documentary evidence to indicate or even conclude that accused Vitriolo received any renumeration or consideration. There is no showing that his act of allegedly persuading, inducing and/or influencing the PLM and its officials was for or in view of a consideration,” the court said in part.
Section 3(a) of the anti-graft law prohibits public officers are prohibited from persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules an regulations duly promulgated by competent authority.