State university head slams 90-day suspension

Published by rudy Date posted on March 11, 2009

The president and two other officials of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines have questioned the authority of the Commission on Higher Education to enforce a suspension order the Sandiganbayan issued against them in connection with 12 counts of graft.

Dante Guevarra, PUP president; Adriano Salvador, accounting division head; and Augustus Cesar, vice president for administration, filed a manifestation before the Sandiganbayan last March 3, saying that CHED has no power to implement a suspension order.

“The proper body to implement a suspension order against the PUP president would be the governing body or board of regents of the PUP,” they said through their counsel, the law firm of Solis Medina Limpingco and Fajardo.

They cited an opinion by the Justice Department last Jan. 12 which said the commission’s power is limited to setting educational standards and exercising supervision and regulation on the operations of higher institutions including creation of programs and approval of curricula.

The counsels said that Republic Act 8292 gave the state university’s board the sole power to appoint a university or college president and to designate an officer-in-charge in case of vacancy due to death, resignation, removal or incapacity.

In its Nov. 6, 2008 order, the graft court ordered CHED chairman Emmanuel Angeles to enforce the 90-day preventive suspension on the three PUP officials on the basis of the graft charges filed against them in 1997.

Guevarra, Salvador and Cesar were charged with overpayment of terminal leave to former PUP president Nemesio Prudente, unauthorized payment of fees and honoraria to public works and PUP officials, questionable disbursements and conspiracy to commit irregularities in the construction of eight school buildings worth P20.91 million in 1989.

PUP faculty members Zenaida Pia and Cresenciano Gatchalian filed the graft cases in 1995 before the Office of the Ombudsman.- Manila Standard Today

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