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Licuanan resigns as CHED chair


MANILA — Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia Licuanan has announced her resignation on Monday morning after the agency’s flag ceremony, in the midst of allegations hurled against her over foreign travels in 2017.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Licuanan’s resignation, after receiving her resignation letter via e-mail.

Licuanan said she received a call from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea over the weekend asking her to resign. 

“While my term ends in 2018, I have decided it is time to go,” she said, adding that there were persons determined to oust her from the office “through false and baseless accusations.”

“First, I was accused of excessive travel, which turned to travel without authority. When the accusations proved baseless, those trying to remove me from the office then turned the case to corruption for releasing allowances in the K to 12 transition program,” she added. 

While the CHED official denied the accusations against her, she said that she opted to resign since her presence at CHED would only “hinder the agency’s urgent reforms”, adding that it would only spark more controversy along the way.

“I strongly denounce malicious allegations of corruption as it has been my personal commitment to stamp out corruption in CHED. The K to 12 transition program has been implemented with the highest level of stewardship and every peso is accounted for,” she said. 

Licuanan admitted that there have been challenges in the release of living allowances, and clarified that these are due to discrepancies and deficiencies in submitted documents, volume of documents that required thorough vetting, and the need to abide by the government accounting and auditing rules.

Licuanan lamented how her travel documents reached Davao City Rep. Jericho Nograles, noting that only few CHED offices have access to the records. 

She said it looks like a “well-orchestrated move in the media”.

“Who put these together and offered this to Representative Nograles?” she asked, adding that she had always signed her documents based on the official travel authority of Malacanang.

She said she has been allowed to travel on business class to avoid the recurrence of her vertigo. 

“My ability to attend CHED work for health reasons was maliciously peddled in social media, even if I have consistently worked in CHED from 6:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. on most days,” she said. 

Despite her resignation, Licuanan said she is grateful to have served CHED.

As a private citizen, Licuanan said she will continue to advocate for reform in the country’s higher education platform. (PNA) By Ma. Cristina Arayata