It was on December 4, 2016 when Vice President Leni Robredo announced that she was resigning for her Cabinet post after receiving a text message from Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, Jr. telling her to stop attending Cabinet meetings that was ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
But it was not just Robredo who had received the order. Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan confirmed that she also received a “similar text message” from Evasco.
Contrary to what Licuanan said last June, President Duterte had told her that he would respect her remaining term and would not be replaced after the President took the seat as the Chief Executive, it seems like the President wanted to remove her as the CHED Chair.
The reason why President Duterte wanted to ban the CHED chair were because of the “irreconcilable differences” and her refusal to give up her position despite of the order issued by the President in August telling all appointees of former President Aquino to submit their “qualified courtesy resignations”.
Former commissioner and chairperson Ester A. Garcia reacted with the issue and shared an open letter to CHED pointing out that the institution must not replace its chairperson despite of the changing of administration. She also stated that others “resigned for other reasons.”
Licuanan had suspicious and accused CHED Commissioner Prospero de Vera III and Executive Director Julito Vitriola that they were “working together against her.”
De Vera denied the allegation and said that CHED Chair’s words were malicious and irresponsible.
“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.
Despite of the text message that she had received, Licuanan said she would continue with her work as head of CHEd, noting that she is serving a fixed term until 2018 and she would comply to President’s order after finishing her work and responsibilities as the Chairperson of CHED.
She was appointed by former President Benigno Aguino III last June 2010 and served for four years as CHED chair. However, she was re-appointed in 2014 for another four-year term and expected to leave the post in 2018. (Alicia Angelica L. Villanueva)