CHED 'ambivalent' on Licuanan's Cabinet ban

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2016 04:36 PM

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is "ambivalent" over the banning of its chief Patricia Licuanan from Cabinet meetings, one of its officials said.

CHED Executive Director Atty. Julio Vitriolo said the commission is in a "wait-and-see" situation until they get directives from President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Licuanan on Monday confirmed that she also received instruction from the President, through Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., to stop attending Cabinet meetings, similar to the case of Vice President Leni Robredo.

However, unlike Robredo, who vacated her post as Housing Secretary, Licuanan said she will abide by the order and continue her work as CHED chairperson.

"It's a wait-and-see situation really because we have to get definitive action from higher authorities on this situation," Vitriolo said in a Malacanang press briefing Thursday.

Vitriolo added that the President's order has created an atmosphere of "ambivalence" in the commission.

"I must admit it's really difficult to work in a way because no less than the President has spoken or acted on this situation," he said, adding that the instruction should be followed by "definitive action" from the President.

Asked whether Licuanan should resign, Vitriolo said the CHED chair is "intelligent enough to discern the situation."

"It would be difficult for our chair to function in the sense that she used to be a part of the Cabinet and now she cannot become part of the Cabinet. It will really affect the organization," he added.

Licuanan was appointed by President Benigno Aquino III as CHED chairperson. Her second four-year term expires in 2018.

Last Tuesday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella reminded Licuanan to submit her resignation letter as she was covered by Memorandum Circular No. 4, ordering all appointees of former President Aquino to submit their courtesy resignations.

Vitriolo noted that this is the first time that a CHED chairperson has been banned from Cabinet meetings and pushed for a clarification from the President on Licuanan's status.

"The sooner this is clarified, the better. Our agency, our institution will suffer in the long run," he said.