Cunanan was CHED official sans college degree

By David Dizon,

Posted at Mar 06 2014 01:34 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2014 09:34 PM

MANILA - On-leave Technology Resource Center (TRC) director general Dennis Cunanan confirmed Thursday that he was appointed to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 2004 even without a college degree.

In his testimony before the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, Cunanan said he was appointed during the Arroyo administrationi to the CHED in 2004 but had to resign after one month because he had not finished his college undergraduate course at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

"I was appointed. I did not apply for it at nabigla ako na dun ako dinala," he said.

He said he neglected his studies in UP Diliman because he was active in the student movement. He told Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago that he no longer enrolled in UP after reaching the maximum residency for his course.

A Philippine Daily Inquirer report earlier said Cunanan's appointment to CHED in May 2004 raised a ruckus, prompting him to resign.

"I left on my own. I have a resignation letter dahil alam ko na may problem ako nung time na yun. May deficiencies ako na hindi na kayang ayusin at that time so sabi ko hindi na pwede kaya nag-resign ako," Cunanan said.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo later appointed him deputy director-general of the TRC in December 2004.

Cunanan said he was active in politics in his home province of Pampanga. He received a diploma from Lacson College in 2005.

Sen. Grace Poe, however, noted that there is no mention of Cunanan graduating from Lacson College in his profile at the TRC website.

The TRC chief said he will call the attention of the team handling the website to correct his profile.

Cunanan said he had a one-month course at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. The TRC and Department of Science and Technology paid for his schooling, he said.

"Managing change kasi ang topic. Kakalipat po ng center ng rationalization so napaka-relevant ng program na pinapasok," he said.

Cunanan also has an MA in public administration at the Lyceum Northwestern University in Dagupan City, Pangasinan.

Cunanan is a provisional state witness in the pork barrel scam involving Janet Lim Napoles and several lawmakers. He earlier revealed that Senators Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada pressured him to release their Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to Napoles NGOs.

A Commission on Audit report said more than P2 billion in PDAF went to Napoles NGOs in 2007-2009.

During the hearing, Cunanan confirmed that he personally called Revilla, Estrada and Atty. Gigi Reyes, then chief of staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, to verify the signatures appearing in documents endorsing PDAF to Napoles NGOs.

Asked if he felt scared by the pressure brought on by the senators, he said: "Hindi naman po ako nanginig. Ang sinasabi ko na kailangang i-approve or disapprove, wala po sa level ko yun. Yung level ng usapan nga ang sinasabi ko kaya sumagot po ako. Hindi ko naman po, trabaho lang po ang ginagaw ko. Sinagot ko po yun. Ang ginagawa ko lang ang trabaho lang kaya ginagawa ko ang follow-up at nag ve-verify. Kung takot ako, siguro pati yung tawag mismo hinid ko gagawin. The fact na tumawag ako at nagtawag ago na magcheck, parang ginagampanan namin ang aming responsibilidad."