Former CHED Executive Director Julito Vitriolo. (Screengrab from PTV)

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled with finality in favor of the reinstatement of lawyer Julito Vitriolo as Executive Director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

An entry of judgment by the SC’s Second Division through Judicial Records Office Assistant Chief Pagwadan S. Fonacier said the resolution of the court “has on August 15, 2019 become final and executory”.

The SC, in its resolution dated June 3 and released on Wednesday, upheld the Court of Appeals (CA) ruling which in turn ordered that Vitrilo, a career executive service officer (CESO), be “reinstated immediately to his former position as executive director of the Commission on Higher Education without loss or diminution in his salaries and benefits.”

“In addition, he shall be paid his salary and such other emoluments corresponding to the period he was out of the service by reason of the judgment of dismissal decreed by the Ombudsman,” the decision upheld by the High Court noted.

The appellate court’s ruling reversed the Office of the Ombudsman’s order dismissing Vitriolo from service after he was found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty in a complaint filed in 2015 by Oliver B. Felix, a former faculty member of the College of Physical Education at the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM).

Vitriolo, Felix said, failed to stop a ‘diploma mill’ program and allowed the issuance of diploma of a physical education program under a suspended 1996 memorandum of agreement (MOA) between PLM and the National College of Physical Education (NCPE).

The MOA had been suspended in 2003 after the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) revoked the registration of the NCPE.

In voiding the Ombudsman’s decision, the CA noted that Vitriolo, contrary to the complaint, had ordered an investigation on PLM in connection with the irregularities.

The CA concluded that Vitriolo’s only infraction was his failure to reply to Felix’s letter and communicated to him the actions taken by his office.

The appellate court, however, meted a 30-day suspension for Vitriolo and dismissed the charges of gross neglect of duty, grave misconduct, inefficiency and incompetence for lack of substantial evidence.

The CA also ordered that he be reinstated immediately to his former position without loss or diminution in salaries and benefits and to be paid his salary and other emoluments. (PNA)