A third president?

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


THE Talisay City College (TCC) now has three presidents, after the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in Central Visayas ordered the reinstatement of former college president Tomas Ramos.

The CSC agreed that the college’s board of trustees illegally terminated the former president’s services, after he had been accused by the Commission on Audit (COA) of failing to remit P10 million in school fees to the Talisay City Government in 2013.

Ramos said that the decision of the CSC 7 speaks for itself and that he was willing to return if the college reinstates him as president.

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Dr. Paulus Cañete, whom Talisay City Mayor Johnny de los Reyes had appointed to run the TCC, said he was willing to step down in favor of Ramos. But Richel Bacaltos, whom the college’s board of trustees had appointed, said he will step down only if the board says so.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Central Visayas said that only the the TCC’s board of trustees has a say on whether or not to reinstate Ramos.

Amid confusion on who is the real TCC president, two graduation ceremonies were recently held by the city college, one led by Bacaltos and the other by the mayor.

In an interview yesterday, Ramos said he was illegally suspended and removed from office, following the results of the audit observation report made by COA before the May 2013 elections.

Back pay

However, Ramos said that since the leadership of TCC is still under question, for now he just wants the trustees to grant his back pay and allowances.

He said that since the board of trustees had suspended him and eventually terminated his services, he has not set foot in Talisay City.

In a November 2013 decision, CSC Chairman Francisco Duque III and Commissioners Robert Martinez and Nieves Osorio decided to reinstate Ramos. They said that the trustees had failed to formally charge him over the alleged non-remittance of school fees.

The three CSC officials cited Republic Act 8292 or the Higher Education Modernization Act of 1997 as their basis for ordering that Ramos be reinstated.

Based on the law, in administrative hearings, the accused must be informed of the charges against him in order for him to intelligently prepare for his defense.

Cañete’s view

The three officials also added that based on the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, before an accused employee is adjudged administratively liable for an offense, he or she must be formally charged by the proper disciplining authority.

But in the case of Ramos, no formal charges were filed, the CSC officials pointed out.

In a separate interview, Cañete said he supports Ramos’s reinstatement as TCC college president.

Cañete believes that Bacaltos’s appointment as acting TCC president was illegal, considering that the trustees appointed him despite a pending investigation by the CSC 7 on the case of Ramos.

Bacaltos, who had served as the city administrator of former Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez, was appointed as acting TCC president following Ramos’s
suspension.

Bacaltos, on the other hand, believes that the board had already decided to remove Ramos and install him as acting president, until a qualified person can replace him.

One month

He said the trustees will deliberate on the CSC regional office’s decision.

He added that if the board does implement the reinstatement, Ramos can only serve a month. Bacaltos said that Ramos, who had a contract from January to June 2013, had served for about five months.

Bacaltos also denied that Ramos did not get due process when he was investigated.

Bacaltos was still a member of the board of trustees at that time; he said they had relied on the COA’s detailed findings when they found Ramos guilty of malversation of school funds.

He recalled that Ramos was given the opportunity by COA to air his side but only presented pictures of his projects without the corresponding receipts.

Following COA’s decision, Ramos was told to serve a 60-day preventive suspension, Bacaltos said.

He added that the trustees eventually issued a resolution to remove Ramos, based on COA’s findings.

Power to hire

For CHED’s part, an official said that the commission shared Bacaltos’s view that only the board of trustees can reinstate Ramos.

Lawyer Pacita Isugan, CHED 7 chief administrative officer, told Sun.Star Cebu yesterday that only the board, which is governed by a city ordinance, has the power to hire or fire anyone in the school.

While allegations were raised against Ramos during his time as college president, he had some high points as well.

During his time as college president from 2004 to 2013, the local college produced topnotchers in the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) for four consecutive years.

Back in 2012, Ramos led TCC when it was ranked first among four colleges with the most number of LET passers in the country.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 04, 2014.

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