MANILA- Julito Vitriolo is no longer the executive director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), its chairperson Patricia Licuanan clarified on Wednesday.
Licuanan said the current executive director is Karol Mark Yee and that all transactions and documents signed by Vitriolo are deemed illegal and will no longer be honored.
"He has been dismissed," Licuanan said in a press conference.
She explained that the announcement has become necessary since Vitriolo has been making public announcements on the commission's behalf.
The Office of the Ombudsman last January ordered the dismissal of Vitriolo after he was found guilty of grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.
In a statement, CHED said Yee was appointed executive director by President Rodrigo Duterte last July 14, and has since assumed the role and performed its functions.
Licuanan acknowledged that problems continued even after Yee's appointment, since Vitriolo continues to occupy his former office and appears in the Senate on CHED's behalf.
Vitriolo's actions, according to Licuanan, have made the situation in the office "uncomfortable."
Despite this, Licuanan maintained that CHED operations remain normal.
"Things are operating normally, and I have warned my regional offices that documents signed by (Vitriolo) are not honored, they are not valid and they are not legal," she said.
"I have heard that Mr. Vitriolo has been signing things, but we are still looking at that."
Licuanan added that Vitriolo could be barred from entering CHED premises but noted that she does not feel comfortable doing that.
"We try to be as civil as we can. Mr. Vitriolo has been in CHED for a long time. He has many friends here. I am uncomfortable confronting him. so we are trying to be civil, but once he speaks for CHED, I draw the line," she said.