Commissioner Prospero de Vera III of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) dismissed allegations that he is working to make CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan leave her post, and denied that he called for the latter's resignation.
De Vera was responding to Licuanan's phone interview on "Mornings @ANC" on Friday where the latter accused De Vera and CHED Executive Director Atty. Julito Vitriolo of working to make her resign.
"I find this statement irresponsible, malicious, and unbecoming of an academician, a former cabinet member, and chairperson of the top policy making body in higher education," De Vera said in a statement.
"The accusation that I am working with Vitriolo to kick out the CHED Chair is not only spiteful, it is also unfounded. I barely know the CHED officials as I have been with the Commission for only three months," he added.
Licuanan said on Friday that many CHED directors were forced to sign a document asking her to step down.
She added that many in CHED supposedly know that De Vera is being groomed to replace her when her term ends, and that he "assumes" that he will be the next CHED chair.
"I have not called for Licuanan's resignation. In the National Directorate meeting on December 12, all I said was that when career officials in any agency submit a letter to the President...as a Commission under the Office of the President, [we] must address the issues raised, and exercise prudence in our decision making," he said.
De Vera and Vitriolo walked out after questioning Licuanan's legitimacy to preside during the said meeting.
De Vera clarified that he was not involved in President Rodrigo Duterte's instruction to Licuanan to desist from attending Cabinet meetings, and that he was not consulted by Vitriolo on the letter asking Duterte to appoint an officer-in-charge to replace her.
"That decision was theirs alone, and I was not privy to any discussions that led to their decision," he said.
De Vera, a professor at the University of the Philippines, was named commissioner in September. He was also appointed as adviser to the government negotiating panel with the National Democratic Front- Communist Party of the Philippines - New Peoples' Army (NDF-CPP-NPA).
De Vera said in a social media post that his acceptance of the posts was to help the Duterte administration "ensure that 'Change is Coming'".