TESDA chief axed after 2 days in office

TESDA chief axed after 2 days in office
By Rainier Allan Ronda
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Newly appointed director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Rogelio Peyuan has been relieved from his post, just two days after he assumed office.

Peyuan, who took his oath at Malacañang last Monday before President Arroyo, was TESDA deputy director general for field operations before his promotion.

“I was totally surprised and deeply hurt by the sudden recall of my appointment,” he said.

Peyuan was informed of the recall of his appointment last Wednesday night by newly appointed Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza.

Peyuan said his sudden ouster was reportedly the handiwork of his predecessor, Augusto Syjuco, who was forced to resign from TESDA due to a Supreme Court ruling that all executives running for elective posts in the May polls were deemed resigned.

Syjuco reportedly lobbied with the President for Peyuan’s replacement, citing his alleged plans to misuse TESDA funds.

“Why should I be removed for things I haven’t done yet?” Peyuan lamented.

“I feel so offended. I don’t think I deserve this,” he added.

Another accusation hurled against him by Syjuco was that he was planning to use TESDA funds to support the senatorial candidacy of Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., since he has close ties to the Marcos family, especially to former first lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.

“That is a baseless accusation. It’s impossible for me to order our people here to release money. It’s so farfetched, it’s almost funny,” Peyuan said.

He alleged that Syjuco has embarked on a campaign to have him ousted after he rejected an arrangement sought by Syjuco for his continued control over half of TESDA’s P700-million technical-vocational training scholarship funds for 2010.

“He said that we should split the P700-million scholarship fund with him calling the shots on the spending of P350 million and I’ll have the other P350 million,” Peyuan claimed.

Syjuco could not be contacted for comment.

Peyuan said TESDA had accumulated a debt of more than P2 billion and had wanted the P700 million to pay off part of the debt owed to tech-voc schools that had accommodated their scholars last year.

Peyuan said Mendoza informed him that he had a choice of going back to his former position as deputy director general for field operations or accept the post of press undersecretary.

Peyuan’s imminent ouster has aroused the indignation of TESDA’s rank-and-file employees and middle-level management.

Hundreds of TESDA employees staged a protest rally yesterday morning inside the TESDA complex on the South Luzon Expressway in Taguig to express their opposition to Peyuan’s replacement.

The TESDA-Association of Concerned Employees (ACE) also issued a manifesto supporting Peyuan and calling for his retention as TESDA director general.

“The appointment of DG Peyuan to TESDA is seen and felt as the most positive thing that happened in TESDA during the last few years. He has the management capability, moral integrity, and leadership to lead TESDA,” the group said.

Not the first recall

Malacañang downplayed the controversy over the withdrawal of Peyuan’s appointment.

Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said it was not the first time that appointments have been withdrawn, not only in the present administration but in past governments as well.

“From what I know, an appointment has not occurred until one (appointee) receives the signed appointment papers, in spite of the publicity or announcements that may have been made,” he said.

“We remind those in TESDA that everything remains in legal order and we have an obligation to submit to the lawful authority of the President,” he said.

Other Palace officials contacted by The STAR said they were not aware why the appointment was withdrawn. – With Paolo Romero

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.