Freeman Metro Cebu

Cañete files raps vs Soc, six others

Garry B. Lao - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines -  Dr. Paulus Mariae Cañete, who was appointed Talisay City College officer-in-charge by Mayor Johnny De los Reyes through an executive order, has filed a complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor against former mayor and now City Councilor Socrates Fernandez.

The case, filed last Tuesday afternoon, was a protest over Fernandez' alleged "unlawful appointment" of acting college president Ritchel Bacaltos replacing then former college president Tomas Ramos.

In his complaint, Cañete cited "Article 244 under Unlawful Appointments," which states that any public officer who shall knowingly nominate or appoint to any public office a person lacking the legal qualifications therefore, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor and fine not exceeding P1,000.

Among the defendants are Atty. Owen Algoso, former city legal officer; Supt. Woodrow Denuyo, city schools division superintendent; Bonifacio Villanueva, former president of Cebu Technological University; Marcelo Lopez, president of Cebu Normal University; Rossana Urdaneta of Technical Education Skills and Development Authority and Bacaltos, a former city administrator.

They are the members of the Board of Trustees.

According to Cañete, the acting president is not qualified for the position and was appointed by the BOT without the recommendation of a duly constituted search committee under Section 6 of Ordinance No. 2008-11.

Cañete also pointed out that Bacaltos cannot render full-time service because he was then city administrator at the time of his appointment.

Further, Cañete said that Bacaltos is not a holder of an earned doctorate degree from a reputable higher education institution, which he said is a violation under Commission on Higher Education rulings.

The BOT, according to Cañete, also violated the implementing rules and guidelines of City Ordinance Section 29, referring to the attendance on meetings, which requires the BOT chair and members to personally attend the regular board meetings.

Cañete insisted that there was no quorum at the time the BOT convened since personal presence was required and only four were personally present while the rest were represented by proxies.

Cañete said that the BOT, being composed of 11 members, needs at least six members to be physically present in order to achieve quorum.

In response, Fernandez showed copy of the minutes of the meeting last June 5, 2013, where the BOT agreed that Bacaltos was hereby appointed and designated as OIC and acting president of TCC effective immediately until such time that a full-time president shall have been appointed by the board.

Fernandez also said the minutes of the meeting showed that seven BOT members attended while only three of the members were represented. He said the BOT meeting was reaffirmed last June 27, 2013 wherein nine members of BOT were present and only one member was represented. The minutes of the June 27 meeting showed the appointment of other employees of TCC, including Bacaltos.

The former mayor, who was then the chairman of the BOT, welcomes Cañete's move which he said would "settle the issue once and for all."(FREEMAN)

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