Monday, January 11, 2010

Asserting Democratic Governance in UP: The PGH Director's Case

by: Prof Judy Taguiwalo
Faculty Regent

In the December 18 BOR meeting, Dr. Jose C. Gonzales was elected the new Director of the Philippine General Hospital. He received 6 votes while outgoing PGH Director Dr. Carmelo Alfiler (who has already served two terms) received 5 votes.

On January 4, the University Secretary issued the announcement of new BOR appointments which included Dr. Gonzales' designation as PGH Director. UP Manila Chancellor Ramon Arcadio then informed Dr. Gonzales and the appointed Dean of the College of Dentistry that they wouldl be sworn into office on the afternoon of January 4.

Another text message from the Chancellor soon followed informing Dr. Gonzales that "President Roman is calling for an urgent meet tomoro, Jan 4. Ur oath taking is postponsed for Tue, Jan. 5 at 2 pm."

Around noontime on January 5, President Roman issued a memo, her first memo for 2010 with the subject "Appointment of Officer-in Charge of the Philippine General" supposedly on the basis of a letter of protest from Regent Sarmiento.

The UP Sectoral Regents, composed of the Faculty, Student and Staff Regent immediately issued the following statement:

Protest Against Deliberate Refusal of President Emerlinda R. Roman to Install Dr. Jose C. Gonzales as the PGH Director, Duly Elected by the Board of Regents January 6, 2010

We, the Regents representing the faculty, staff and students of the University, call upon all concerned members of the University of the Philippines community, particularly those from the Philippine General Hospital, to express their united condemnation of President Emerlinda R. Roman’s illegal, undemocratic and unfair refusal to install Dr. Jose C. Gonzales as the PGH Director who was duly elected by the Board of Regents last December 18, 2009. We call upon everyone to protest this blatant violation of the University’s standards of good governance.

We wish to remind President Roman that the Board of Regents at its December 18, 2009 meeting duly elected Dr. Jose C. Gonzales as director of the Philippine General Hospital. The Office of the Secretary of the University in its January 4, 2010 notification of the decisions of the BOR on appointments of UP officials included the appointment of Dr. Gonzales as PGH director.

Despite these facts, President Emerlinda R. Roman issued Memorandum No. PERR-2010-001, dated January 5, 2010, appointing Chancellor Ramon L. Arcadio as Officer-in-Charge of PGH. This memorandum cannot supercede a BOR decision and is therefore in direct defiance of the BOR. President Roman cannot fill up a position that is not vacant. We shall be taking steps to hold President Roman legally liable for possible violation of the University Charter that she is obligated by her oath of office to uphold

We acknowledge that one Regent has expressed his intention to protest the election of Dr. Gonzales. The presence of such protest, however, cannot overturn the decision already made by the BOR. By refusing to implement a duly approved decision of the BOR, President Roman has prejudged by herself alone an issue that should also be decided by the BOR as a body at its regular meeting. She has no legal or practical justification to withhold implementation of a BOR decision as the term of the previous PGH Director has already expired

We regard President Roman’s January 5 memorandum refusing to implement a BOR decision to appoint Dr. Gonzales as PGH Director as a very dangerous precedent. Here is one individual member of the Board, by the mere issuance of a memorandum, exercising a power that effectively frustrates the implementation of a duly authorized decision by the BOR.

should not allow such autocratic actions to be exercised without resistance. We call for the immediate withdrawal of said memorandum and for the recognition of Dr. Jose C. Gonzales as the duly elected PGH Director starting January 1, 2010.

Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo (SGD)
Staff Regent Clodualdo “Buboy” Cabrera (SGD)
Student Regent Charisse Bernadine BaƱez (SGD)

The All UP Workers Union, Manila Chapter lead a protest action in front of the PGH Main Lobby on June 7 during lunch break. The union called on the university officials to honor the Dec. 18 BOR decision appointing Dr. Gonzales and attacked the various steps taken to frustrate the implementation of the decision.

Before the end of the protest action,the protesters received a copy of the "notification of approval of temporary appointment" of Dr. Gonzales as PGH Director signed by the Secretary of the University Dr. Lourdes Abadingo dated December 18 and received by the UP Manila Chancellor only on January 7. That same afternoon, Dr. Gonzales took his oath of office in front of Chancellor Arcadio.

All's well that ends well?

No, it isn't as the University Secretary in a January 7 letter addressed to Dr. Gonzales informed him that Regent Sarmiento has submitted a December 23, 2009 letter of protest related to the PGH Director and that letter will be discussed in the January 29 BOR meeting.

The saga of the PGH Directorship continues.

1 comment:

Emperor Trogdor said...

Today's events at the BOR Meeting calls for us PGH employees to speak out.

This is an obvious ploy to keep the old administration in power.