Speedy resolution of issues hounding State U in NorthCot sought

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 19 June) – Both the beleaguered president of the state-owned University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in the municipality of Kabacan in North Cotabato and the protesters wanted speedy resolution of the charges they filed against each other.

The USM president, Dr. Jesus Derije, who has filed on Friday his leave of absence from office for 29 days, said over radio he sought early resolution of the administrative and criminal charges he filed against many university employees and even some outsiders.

Derije said at least 53 of their employees were slapped last March 25 with administrative charges at the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in Region 12.

Charges included grave misconduct, disloyalty to the Republic of the Philippines, refusal to perform official duties, gross insubordination, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service.

Additional or supplemental documents were submitted to the CSC on April and May, he said.

Aside from these, Derije also filed on May 6 criminal complaints against 60 individuals for allegedly preventing persons in authority to perform official functions when they blocked the gates of the university since February this year.

Of the number, at least 10 were outsiders or non-USM employees.

The charges filed by Derije came only after the protesters slapped him with several graft complaints at the Department of Justice and Office of the Ombudsman.

Just like Derije, one of the protesters’ demands was the speedy resolution of the charges they filed against the president.

The group calling themselves Federation of Organization to Oust Derije (FOOD) even threatened authorities that if Derije still remains in his office there would be no peace in the USM.

The group wants Derije out and urged the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to declare the presidency open for applications.

Reports reaching Derije said that three of the leaders of the protesters are interested in his position.

These leaders, he stressed, were charged with administrative complaints at the CSC. Also, they face sedition and were given individual notice from the CSC to file their counter-affidavits.

As this developed, Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco (2nd Dist.) said during a press conference last Friday she is set to initiate a legislative inquiry about issues hounding the USM by July.

Derije said he favors the inquiry and asked if the National Bureau of Investigation and the Commission on Audit could also conduct investigations of the same.

“By doing these, I know, the truth will come out,” he said.

But Derije was also accused of funds embezzlement.

The protesters cited, in particular, the purchase of an X-ray machine for the USM Hospital, a luxury car, and other facilities.

Dr. Alemin Sencil, one of the leaders of the protesters, said during a press conference at the radio station dxVL in Kabacan last Friday, said that Derije has abused his powers and authority in dealing with some of the employees at the USM. Sencil said he wanted reforms at the USM and that can only happen if Derije is removed as president.