The Office of the Ombudsman has ordered the dismissal of Executive Director Julito Vitriolo of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) after it found him administratively liable for failing to heed calls for a probe into an alleged diploma mill and for letting a university issue transcripts of records and diplomas based on a suspended education program.
According to a statement issued on Thursday, the Ombudsman found Vitriolo guilty of grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, incompetence and inefficiency, and breach of conduct.
It also found basis to file graft charges at the Sandiganbayan against him.
The Ombudsman said Vitriolo “acted with gross negligence for failing to heed the demand to investigate and stop the diploma mill, and for allowing the Pamantasan [ng]Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) to issue transcripts of record and diplomas based on a suspended education program.”
Vitriolo said he will appeal the decision.
“First of all I was surprised with the decision of the Ombudsman,” he told reporters. “I believe there were considerations that were not taken into account. The decision is not yet final and we will definitely appeal said decision.”
According to the Ombudsman’s statement, PLM and the National College of Physical Education (NCPE) inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in 1996 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.”
Former PLM President Adel Tamano suspended the deal in 2008 after the Commission on Audit found that the MOA was prejudicial to the university’s interest.
Despite this, the same statement continued, “Vitriolo asserted that the transcript of records could be issued by PLM to the graduates under the PLM-NCPE MOA ‘based on vested rights’” in 2010.
“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,” Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said in a joint resolution.
The Ombudsman said “[t]he 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.”
The office ordered his suspension for alleged misconduct in 1999 “for signing a memorandum when he had lost the authority to do so.” REINA TOLENTINO