Editorial: A problem like the TCC

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

THREE college presidents? That’s a recipe for chaos. But that’s what the Talisay City College (TCC) has, three persons with a claim to the college’s top post. And they own good arguments to back their claim.

Let us start with Tomas Ramos, the recent entrant, who was ordered reinstated as TCC president by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) because the TCC Board of Trustees failed to follow due process in his dismissal in June last year. He thus has a legitimate claim to the post.

There’s Richel Bacaltos, appointed acting president by the Board of Trustees to replace Ramos. Under the Talisay City ordinance creating the TCC, only the Board has the power to hire or fire the college president. That’s a good argument in Bacaltos’s favor.


Then you have Paulus Cañete, who was appointed by Mayor Johnny V. de los Reyes (JVR) last February to replace Bacaltos. But that appointment did not sit well with majority of the Board.

Still, even if Cañete’s appointment is questionable, the mayor has the power of the purse. He has refused to pay Bacaltos and Cañete is the one withdrawing the salary for TCC president.

But how did Talisay City got into this mess. Blame politics for it.

The original “sin” is actually with Ramos, who a Commission on Audit (COA) report said failed to liquidate P10 million collected by the school from 2004 to 2008. It’s possible he didn’t pocket the money, but why refuse to liquidate the amount?

That provided ammunition for whoever wanted to oust him to succeed in the scheme.

Former mayor Socrates Fernandez would order his preventive suspension in the latter part of May, or after the local elections when it was already known that a new City Hall administration will take over.

He was replaced by Bacaltos, Soc’s former city administrator.

The next political move was by JVR who, even if he knew that the Board of Trustees, as composed, is packed with supporters of the administration he replaced, went ahead and attempted to oust Bacaltos.

Ramos, when asked about the CSC decision, didn’t want to complicate matters further by physically taking over the post. He merely wants to get his back pay and allowances, something that only JVR can give.

Ramos’s action is proof that without politicking, one can be sober in finding a solution to the problem. But he belongs to only one side of a triangle-shaped problem.

The two other sides are tainted with politics.

Which is what makes the problem difficult to solve.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 04, 2014.


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