Commission pressed to ground school head over sex complaint

Published by rudy Date posted on April 27, 2009

The Civil Service Commission is being pressed to back the filing of indirect contempt charges against the board of regents of the Technological University of the Philippines sitting on a 90-day suspension order against the school president in a sexual harassment case.

In a statement, Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said TUP president Godofredo Gallega has been ordered by the commission grounded following the complaint of an assistant professor in December 2007.

“We absolutely support the victim. We laud her courage and determination in pursuing the appropriate legal actions in the interest of justice,” she said.

But the governing board has dug in, deferring Gallega’s suspension because of a pending review before the Court of Appeals of order issued on Dec. 15, 2008.

The board filed a motion for reconsideration which the commission denied in a resolution last Feb. 17.

In a statement, the regents justified their March 14 deferrment as “an act of courtesy to the CA,” which had yet to rule on Gallega’s petition for injunctive relief.

Taliño-Mendoza noted the nature of suspension was not punitive but merely preventive.

“The action is meant to avoid a situation wherein the official’s continued stay in his post might prejudice an investigation, or discourage potential witnesses, including those under his supervision,” she pointed out.

“Thus, preventive suspension is imperative to ensure an impartial, thorough and expeditious investigation, which would be beneficial to both the complainant as well as the respondent.”

Taliño-Mendoza cited a directive by President Arroyo on expeditious action on sexual harass-ment complaints.

Under the manual all public offices, including state universities and colleges as well as government-owned or -controlled corporations, are directed to form a panel, providing redress to sexual harassment victims within 30 days.

The head of a government office is mandated to act on a complaint within 15 days, or face charges of neglect of duty.

“We must stress the need for all agencies to comply fully with the policy against sexual harassment in the workplace, and end their complacency in dealing with complaints,” said Taliño-Mendoza.–Roy Pelovello, Manila Standard Today

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