Mayor Celso Lobregat, the authorized representative of the Congresswoman Cynthia Villar in the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) Board of Regents (BOR) played a crucial role that led to the resolution of the month long crisis that plagued the Western Mindanao State University the past four weeks.
In a resolution approved Saturday afternoon, the Board led by Dr. Luningning Omar of the Commission on Higher Education, recognized the mayor for his active role in helping resolve the impasse that ended with the lifting of the 90-day preventive suspension order that the Board imposed on University president Dr. Grace Rebollos for charges of gross neglect of duty and gross insubordination.
The resolution unanimously approved by the Board expressed appreciation and thanks to Lobregat for “mediating and actively helping resolve the crisis”. Lobregat is duly authorized by Villar, the chair of the Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) of the 14th Congress based on the provisions of section 3 on Governing Boards and Manner of Appointment of Republic Act 8292.
Villar’s authorization is formalized in a letter to the WMSU Board of Regents dated June 4, 2008.
Dr. Omar said Lobregat played a very essential role in the Board’s marathon meeting last Saturday, June 7, that led to the peaceful and successful resolution of the dilemma in the university.
After a marathon meeting, the Board Saturday approved Lobregat-sponsored resolution 68 series of 2008 that lifted Rebollos’ 90-day preventive suspension order. This came about after Rebollos acknowledged before the Board her fault and shortcomings and expressed her sincerest apologies. She nevertheless, asserted that she merely acted in good faith and that she is willing to refund the P120, 000 that the university paid to Dr. Belinda Belisario and Prof. Myrna Cabato for their services as vice presidents from January to March 2008.
In the same resolution, the board decided to forego with the investigation on the charges but held Dr. Rebollos liable for the offense of simple neglect of duty with a penalty of one month suspension to be served within the school 2008-2009.
Dr. Rebollos in a statement also thanked Cong. Villar for requesting Mayor Lobregat to sit in her behalf and to work with the Board in dealing with the issue.
“He (Lobregat) has my deep esteem and admiration for his kind support to the University and his bridging leadership in working towards helping us resolve our problem,” Dr. Rebollos said.
The impasse in the university started on May 9, 2008 when a formal charge and order of preventive suspension was filed against Dr. Rebollos, WMSU president charging her of gross neglect of duty and gross insubordination based on administrative case 01-2008.
Following the preventive suspension which took effect on May 12, 2008, Dr. Emylou Yanga, OIC director of the Commission on Higher Education Regional Office 9, was designated OIC of the university. Dr. Rebollos filed her answer in administrative case 01-2008 on May 22, 2008 and filed a motion for reconsider of order of preventive suspension on May 23.
Aside from Omar and Lobregat the others who attended the board meeting Saturday were the representative of Sen. Allan Peter Cayetanno, NEDA regional Director Art Valero, Manuel Tan, Renato San Agustin, Jara Hamja, Renee Lynn Cabanero and several others. — Sheila Covarrubias