Newly-reinstated Commission on Higher Education lawyer Julito Vitriolo on Monday urged CHED chairman Prospero de Vera III to respect the decisions of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Quezon City Regional Trial Court that he is the agency's "legitimate" executive director.
At a media briefing in Quezon City, Vitriolo said: "let us respect the rule of law."
He said that other CHED officials do not welcome his reinstatement despite the court orders.
"I really do not know why he was against me when in fact, I was one of those who endorsed him to be the next CHED chairperson," he said.
De Vera challenged Quezon City's Branch 83 Judge Ralph Lee's writ of quo warranto to remove the sitting executive director, lawyer Cinderella Filipina Benitez-Jaro, and to reinstate Vitriolo immediately.
He said the lower court's decision was not yet final and executory due to a pending case with the Supreme Court filed by another complainant.
"WHEREFORE, premises considered respondent Atty. Cinderella Filipino Benitez-Jaro is DECLARED guilty of usurpation of the office of the Executive Director IV of the Commission on Higher Education and is OUSTED and EXCLUDED therefrom effective immediately," Lee's order read.
"Consequently, petitioner [Vitriolo], in the interest of public service must forthwith assume the office and function of Executive Director IV of the Commission on Higher Education without loss of seniority rights and his right to benefits and back wages as mandated by the Court of Appeals and affirmed with finality by the Supreme Court."
Vitriolo, through his lawyer Arnold Guerrero filed the quo warranto petition before the sala of Lee "as early as four months ago."
Last Oct. 18, Branch 83's sheriff, along with some police officers, implemented the Oct. 16 writ of quo warranto at Benitez-Jaro's office at the ChEd office inside the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
"Benitez-Jaro did not resist at all but I heard De Vera and several others did not welcome my reinstatement," he told reporters.
Last June 3, the High Court dismissed the petition for review filed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Vitriolo for lack of merit and even upheld the appellate court's decision to reinstall him as executive director and pay him all his back pay and benefits close to three years.
According to Vitriolo's lawyer, Napoleon Galit, the Supreme Court order was final and executory as evidenced by the Aug. 15 entry of judgment.
Vitriolo said not even a temporary restraining order could stop his reinstatement.
"The court has given ChEd five days to make a report if its order was implemented," he said.
The case stemmed from the 2011 complaint filed by Oliver Felix, a former faculty member of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynilad with the Ombudsman against Vitriolo for grave misconduct, gross neglect of duty, incompetence and inefficiency in the performance of official duties over supposed failure to investigate that the university was being used a diploma mill.
"I had it investigated," Vitriolo said.
But the Ombudsman then ordered Vitriolo's dismissal in 2017.