MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 1st Division has given due course to a graft case while it dismissed another against Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) Executive Director Julito Vitriolo.
The two cases, both filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, stemmed from the alleged agreement between Vitriolo and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) Acting University Legal Counsel Gladys France Palarca for the issuance of transcripts of record to graduates of the National College of Physical Education, whose memorandum of agreement with PLM was supposedly suspended.
The registration of NCPE was revoked in 2003 after it failed to comply with reportorial requirements. The program was suspended in 2008.
Former PLM faculty member Oliver Felix alleged that Vitriolo failed to act on his complaint on the certification that PLM is not authorized to implement the university's Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency Accreditation Program.
In its decision, the anti-graft court decided to try Vitriolo on the allegation that he gave verbal permission to PLM to issue the transcripts, which then “caused undue injury and damage to the quality of tertiary education.”
“This Court finds the averments in the Information... sufficient. They state explicitly and directly every fact and circumstance necessary to constitute the offense charged. The motion to quash and/or dismiss must then fail,” the court said in a resolution ordered by Associate Justice Geraldine Faith Econg, with the concurrence of Associate Justice Efren Dela Cruz, the division chair, and Associate Justice Edgardo Caldona.
In the same breath, the Sandiganbayan dismissed the case involving the supposed influence of Vitriolo on PLM and the supposed remuneration he received.
“There is no testimonial or documentary evidence to indicate or even conclude that accused Vitriolo received any remuneration or consideration. There is no showing that his act of allegedly persuading, inducing, and/or influencing the PLM and its officials was for or in view of a consideration,” the court said.
Because of the cases, Vitriolo was earlier ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman for the corresponding administrative charges but the Court of Appeals reversed this decision for being "too harsh" for the offense he supposedly committed.
Malacañang has already appointed Vitriolo's replacement, Karol Mark Yee.