The Department of Education (DepEd) Schools Division Office (SDO) in Palawan insists that Division Superintendent Dr. Natividad Bayubay is not under suspension because her office has never been served a copy of her suspension order.
After vacating her office in mid-December to go on official leave, Bayubay reported for work Tuesday afternoon. She was also reported to have issued several department memoranda before her return.
The provincial DepEd has maintained their previous stance that they never received a copy of the suspension order. According to division information officer Arnie Ventura, their division still recognizes Bayubay as their superintendent to this day,
“Siya pa rin ang SDS since wala pang official communication from the higher office. Basta naghihintay lang kami ng communication from the Regional Office and ‘yon ang aming susundin,” said Ventura.
Ventura added that Bayubay’s supposed suspension had never even taken effect, despite the fact that she had vacated her office in mid-December without notice to the public.
“Hindi pa siya [suspension order] nag-take effect kasi wala pa ngang na-receive,” he added.
Bayubay was supposed to begin her suspension on December 1, based on an order signed by no less than DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones, a copy of which was earlier received by Palawan News from a department source.
Bayubay reportedly left her office on December 15, but it was unclear if this were to observe her suspension or as a leave of absence.
Violation of COVID protocols
Bayubay, however, was apprehended by members of the city and provincial Incident Management Teams (IMTs) for violating COVID-19 quarantine protocols. This, after she arrived in the city on a private plane without following travel protocols, even describing her experience in a social media post.
Meanwhile, the civil society group Save Palawan Movement (SPM), in a statement, denounced Bayubay’s actuation and called for her ouster as head of the provincial DepEd.
“We urge the DepEd to effect the immediate replacement of Supt. Bayubay as Division Superintendent for Palawan. We also call on the Office of the President and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) to look into possible issues relating to the use of the provincial governor’s private plane,” the SPM said in its statement.
“Supt. Bayubay’s behavior has shown her propensity to curry personal favors and thus compromise her independence especially that the DepEd is once again set to play a key role in the forthcoming plebiscite on the division of Palawan in March 2021,” the statement added. (with reports from Ruth Rodriguez, Patricia Laririt, and Celeste Anna Formoso)