Civil service body says Pamantasan president not qualified
MANILA, Philippines—The Civil Service Commission recently invalidated the appointment of Artemio Tuquero as president of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila but the former Court of Appeals Justice said he was not bothered by it at all.
“I’m not disturbed or perturbed by that decision. To me it’s nothing because they nullified something that does not exist,” Tuquero told the Inquirer. “The PLM president, being an official elected by the Board of Regents, does not need any appointment.”
Tuquero, former dean of the College of Law of the University of the East and Manuel L. Quezon University, served as justice secretary under then President Joseph Estrada.
Upon Estrada’s assumption to office as Manila mayor, Tuquero was appointed member of the PLM Board of Regents with the consent of the City Council. Afterward, Tuquero was unanimously elected university president by the board members at a special meeting on July 19, 2013. His term is for six years until 2019.
During Alfredo Lim’s administration, Tuquero’s appointment as president of Universidad de Manila was twice invalidated by the CSC because of his age.
Tuquero said he also assumed office as UDM president by virtue of his election by the Board of Regents, “which is the mode of choosing said official under the UDM Charter. Obviously, the invalidation of the appointment did not adversely affect my continuing to serve as UDM president and receiving the compensation.”
The Civil Service Commission once again nullified his term as PLM president, this time “for failure to meet the education requirement.”
“This Office finds the appointment of Atty. Tuquero as University President not in order. Thus, there is cogent reason to invalidate subject appointment,” CSC Director IV Lydia Alba Castillo said in a March 6 letter addressed to the University and Board Secretary Carlos Carlos.
“In the absence of any qualification requirements set by law or proposed by the PLM and approved by the CSC, it is deemed proper to refer to the qualification requirements prescribed for the position of University/College President under the 1997 Qualification Standards Manual,” the CSC letter said.
Lawyer Reynaldo Bagatsing, son of former Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing, urged Estrada to recall Tuquero’s appointment in February for what he deemed as “administrative and criminal abuses openly committed by the mentioned officials, especially Justice Tuquero, which are putting indelible blemish not only on the Iglesia ni Cristo and its distinguished leaders, which you respect very much, but more so on yourself.”
Bagatsing said Tuquero also failed to pay MY EMR Solutions Inc. in accordance with a contract executed with PLM.
MY EMR Solutions Inc. has filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against Tuquero and Carlos for their refusal to pay P17.9 million for a 2009 contract designing integrated systems for communication network for PLM.
Tuquero said the attack on his qualifications was brought about by this issue. “Apparently it has something to do with the claim which the previous administration and I refuse to honor because of the finding of the Commission on Audit saying that the contract has technical deficiencies.”
Asked what Estrada told him, Tuquero said, “We have not discussed this. He does not meddle with this.”
Tuquero has sent an official reply to CSC Chair Francisco Duque III in a letter signed by Carlos as university legal counsel. In the March 25 letter, Carlos said the action of the CSC was “uncalled for” since the submission of the board resolution and Tuquero’s oath of office was for record purposes and does not require an action by the CSC.
Carlos said the invalidation was also “devoid of any basis” since the PLM president is an elective position with a fixed term, thus, it belongs to the non-career service.
“Precisely because elective officers belong to the non-career service that the PLM Charter does not prescribe any qualification standards for the University President … The PLM Charter deems it sufficient for one to be elected University President that he be one of the Regents appointed by the City Mayor with the consent of the City Council,” the letter said.
Carlos said it was “highly improper” for the CSC to apply the 1997 Qualification Standards Manual because a manual promulgated by an administrative agency cannot prevail over a statute like the PLM Charter.
“It may be worthy to mention that (Tuquero) was recently the recipient of the Degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, from the Urdaneta City University on Feb. 27,” the letter added.
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