The Department of Education (DepEd) had placed Palawan’s top education official, DepEd Schools Division Superintendent Natividad Bayubay, under a 90-day preventive suspension effective last December 1 in connection with multiple administrative charges filed against her by several local senior officials.
A copy of the order obtained recently by Palawan News from a highly placed department source indicated that Bayubay had been slapped with formal administrative charges after a preliminary investigation process conducted by the department on the complaints.
The suspension order was approved by education secretary Leonor Briones on December 1 upon the recommendation of the department’s legal office and was effective upon the signing date.
Local DepEd mum
Bayubay herself was not at the division office to clarify the order as she had already left Palawan on December 15 through a “special delivery” aboard a private jet owned by Palawan governor Jose Alvarez.
The local DepEd officials have kept mum on her status. Daisy Atrero, former division information officer, on Tuesday told Palawan News they have not received any suspension order.
“We have not received such an order. Without an order from our central office, we may have to contest the veracity of that document,” Atrero said.
There has also been no public announcement whether a replacement for Bayubay as Palawan division head had been made by the DepEd Regional Office, but Palawan third district congressman Gil A. Acosta Jr. told Palawan News that the former regional director of DepEd may have already received the suspension order.
“May umuugong na napirmahan na daw ng former regional director ng DepEd. Ang alam natin bago kasi ang RD, pero as far as the three congressmen of Palawan is concerned ay we have signed the letter to Secretary Briones na kung maari ay habang hindi pa tapos ang preliminary investigation na ginagawa nila ay baka maaari na ilipat si [Bayubay] kasi mahirap, paano makakawitness ang mga kasama mo sayo,” Acosta said.
Another top official source has told Palawan News that Secretary Briones on December 3 has also issued a special order with Bayubay’s replacement which was already received by DepEd legal department on the same day.
Conduct prejudicial to the service
Bayubay is facing three separate specific charges of “grave misconduct and conduct prejudicial to the service”.
Bayubay had been accused by three senior Palawan schoolteachers of allegedly mismanaging funds amounting to nearly P84.7 million based on a report by the Commission on Audit (COA).
The complaint was filed by Roger J. Cario, chapter head of the National Association of Philippine School Secondary Heads Inc. (NAPSSI), Rosalie C. Montealto, chapter president of Philippine Elementary School Principal Association (PESPA), and Renante T. Tabi, interim president of the Palawan Provincial Federation Teachers Association (PPFTA).
Once case involved infractions on the procurement and liquidation of special cash advances amounting to P13.2 million. Another case involves the holding of a webinar by the Division office where the participants were charged with P2,000 each without complying with government audit procedures. The third complaint pertains to the holding of another training for senior teachers where the participants were asked to pay P4,500 each.
Prior to her suspension, Bayubay had reassigned one of the complainants, Renante Tabi, to his previous position at a school in El Nido. (with reports from Genn Magdayao and Patricia Laririt)