CSC affirms 2019 decision: Libre guilty of malpractice

Civil Service Commission Logo
Civil Service Commission Logo

FOR lack of merit, the Civil Service Commission Davao Region (CSC 11) has dismissed Commissioner Jo Mark Libre’s appeal, upholding their 2019 decision that found him guilty of malpractices during his tenure as a faculty member at a school in Davao in 2016.

The CSC, however, modified its prior decision to the extent that Libre is not found guilty of falsification of official documents “as the same is already subsumed in the offense of serious dishonesty.”

Libre, a former faculty member of the Davao del Norte State College (DNSC) in Panabo City, currently serves as a commissioner of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) and holds the position of chairman of the board of regents at Cebu Technological University (CTU), as indicated on the university’s official website.

He filed his appeal on the first CSC decision last March 20, 2020, after the commission found him guilty of padding the price of plane tickets during an educational trip he had to Singapore in 2016 with a fellow teacher. The formal complaint against him was filed in 2017.

The CSC 11 then treated Libre’s appeal as a petition for review, and while the case was ongoing, Libre was appointed by then President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 9, 2020, to serve as a commissioner at Ched for a five-year term, until 2025.

Latest decision

After about four years, the CSC released a notice standing by its decision, saying it was not convinced of the rebuttal and pieces of evidence that Libre provided.

In an 11-page Notice of Decision promulgated on Nov. 22, 2023 and signed by commissioners Karlo Nograles, Aileen Lourdes Lizada and Ryan Acosta, the CSC affirmed with modification its findings from July 19, 2019, wherein Libre was found guilty of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, fabrication of official documents, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

The Office of the President of the DNSC received a copy of the notice on Dec. 14, 2023.


The CSC, however, modified its earlier decision indicating that Libre is not found guilty of falsification of official documents because it is already included in the offense of serious dishonesty.

“Terminal leave benefits and personal contributions to Government Service Insurance System, Retirement Benefits Administration Service, or other equivalent retirement benefits shall not be subject to forfeiture,” reads a portion of the notice.

Libre, however, remains guilty of other accusations against him.

CSC 11 said Libre has been subjected to penalties, which include dismissal from service, cancellation of eligibility, perpetual disqualification from holding public office, and prohibition from taking any Civil Service Examinations.


This case stemmed from the complaint filed by Jonathan Bayogan, DNSC’s president, before the CSC against Libre on March 28, 2017.

Bayogan maintained that the plane tickets purchased by Libre for an Experiential Learning Workshop in Singapore in 2016, were bought at an inflated price.

During that time, Libre was a faculty member of DNSC and concurrently held the position of Dean of Student Affairs and campus director of Datu Jose Libayao-DNSC in Talaingod, Davao del Norte.

Libre was then formally charged by the CSC 11 with Grave Misconduct, Serious Dishonesty, Falsification of Official Document, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service.

During a formal investigation, it was established that Libre was the only one who transacted with and facilitated the purchase of his and Erlinda Cutad’s plane tickets to Singapore with Gemma Mae Josol (Josol), owner of DJMJ.

The ticket price quoted by Josol was P13,889 each, as evidenced by the screenshots of their exchange of messages through text. However, Libre instructed Josol to add to the cost his unpaid and unused plane tickets for the following trips: Davao-Manila-Cagayan (February 2016) in the amount of P2,745; Davao-Manila-Davao (December 2016) in the amount of P2,783, and Manila-Busan-Manila on December 2016 in the amount of P,700, for a total of P11,228.

The CSC said Josol accommodated Libre’s request and totaled their ticket price for the Singapore trip at P19,503 each.

Libre argued that the finance department had facilitated the purchasing of plane tickets and insisted there was no irregularity in the liquidation of his travel to Singapore.

He claimed that necessary documents supported the actual cost of the tickets and had passed scrutiny by the Commission on Audit.

Libre also questioned the admissibility of screenshots of alleged text conversations between him and Josol, as they were not independently authenticated according to rules on electronic evidence.

He believed that the evidence presented was not substantial enough to hold him guilty of the offenses charged. However, the Commission was not persuaded by his arguments.

Active on duty

However, months after the decision notice was published, a representative of Ched Central Visayas, who requested anonymity, said, on Jan. 8, that Libre remains a commissioner.

The representative, however, said she cannot answer on behalf of CTU on whether Libre is still the chairman of the board of regents there.

SunStar Cebu sent an email to the university on Tuesday to ask for confirmation on whether Libre is still serving on the regents’ board; however, there has been no reply as of press time.

Senate investigation urged

In August 2023, SunStar Cebu reported that a call was made for a Senate investigation into Libre. Allegations included questionable practices while performing his duties, including inappropriate expenses and a lack of due process when addressing concerns from anonymous sources, among others.

Erico Bucoy, representing the Senate Committee on Higher Technical and Vocational Education, sent a letter dated June 5, 2023, to Sen. Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero, urging an inquiry into Libre.

The letter, outlining Bucoy’s “observations” on Libre, reached Escudero’s office on July 13. Escudero presides over the Senate Committee on Higher Technical and Vocational Education.

“The Philippine state universities and colleges (SUCs) play a critical role in molding the nation’s future workforce. Hence, its appropriate management is deemed essential,” read a portion of Bucoy’s letter.

Bucoy called on senators to address his concerns, emphasizing that the purported irregularities attributed to Libre could potentially impact the university’s overall performance, affecting the morale of both its students and employees.


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