School president sworn in despite complaint

Dr. Jesus Antonio Derije today took his oath before CHED chair Dr. Emmanuel Angeles, in Manila, as president of the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), in Kabacan, North Cotabato.

Derije was with lawyer Hamlet Pahm, his wife Maria Elena, sister-in-law, and mother Juanita, when he signed his appointment papers. 

Derije’s oath-taking was postponed following the complaint filed by some university personnel.

The complaint, which was reportedly submitted to the Office of the President, said Derije has no moral ascendancy to lead the university as he was allegedly involved in a cattle rustling case sometime in 1989. 

The complainants also accused Derije of lying about his service record when he said that he served as dean of the university for more than five years.

Pahm, in an interview over dxND, said his client went through a rigid selection process that started late last year. 

“As regards the cattle rustling case which happened 18 years ago, there was no case filed against him by anybody,” Pahm said citing as basis the clearance given to his client by the Sandigan Bayan and the Regional Trial Court in Kabacan.

Derije’s records at the National Bureau of Investigation will also prove his innocence of the crime, if indeed there was, the lawyer said.

“If I was involved in the crime, I could have been convicted. But there was none. So why make a fuss out of it?” Derije said. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)