Former official: Position not yet vacant
PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has appointed lawyer Cinderella Filipina Benitez Jaro as the new executive director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), but a former official said the position was not yet vacant.
Jaro replaced former CHEd executive director Julito Vitriolo, who insisted that his position was “not yet finally vacant” because he had a pending appeal before the Court of Appeals (CA) that has yet to be resolved.
Vitrilo is facing charges of grave misconduct before the Sandiganbayan for his failure to stop the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila from issuing transcripts and diplomas for suspended degree programs.
“It must be recalled that in the previous petition for review in the CA in the Oliver Felix case, I was able to get a reversal of the Ombudsman decision which was eventually affirmed with finality by the SC (Supreme Court) the CA decision reinstating me as executive director of CHEd,” Vitriolo told The Manila Times.
He argued that his reinstatement is based on the ruling issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 83 which granted the quo warranto petition filed by Vitriolo against Jaro, thus removing the latter and reinstating him to his former CHEd post.
“While the Ombudsman decision maybe executory, it is not yet final,” he pointed out.
In December 2019, Vitriolo was dismissed by the Ombudsman because of conduct prejudicial to public interest. The dismissal was based on a case filed by former CHEd chairman Patricia Licuanan against Vitriolo in 2016, when he called for the resignation of Licuanan.
The decision comes with an accessory penalty for Vitriolo to be perpetually disqualified to work in the government.
He was previously dismissed in December 2016 by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales for failing to act on the alleged irregularities at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
These charges were later dismissed by the Court of Appeals 12th Division after concluding that these were “too harsh” and “disproportionate” to Vitriolo’s offense.
Jaro had been serving in place of Vitriolo as officer in charge at the Office of the Executive Director from July 2018 up to the present, concurrent with her position as director of the Legal and Legislative Service since May 2017.
As executive director, Jaro will be in charge of the executive office that serves as clearinghouse for all communications received from internal and external sources.
She will serve as the head of the Commission Secretariat and will oversee the overall implementation and operations of the CHEd central and regional offices.
Aside from these, she is also tasked to ensure that all units are pursuing a common road map, consistent with the Commission’s reform agenda and strategic plan.
Jaro finished her Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines and her Bachelor of Laws in New Era University.