The Court of Appeals building (Photo grabbed from PNA)

THE COURT of Appeals (CA) has nullified the one-year suspension imposed by the University against a professor from the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) in 2017 for serious misconduct.

In a 21-page ruling dated July 14 and released on the CA website, CA First Division Associate Justice Bonifacio Pascua reversed the 2018 order of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) that affirmed the suspension of Asst. Prof. Danielito Jimenez, president of the UST Arts and Letters Faculty Association (ALFA).

Jimenez was suspended after the March 29, 2017 publication of “The Voice of the AB Faculty: Satisfaction, Dissatisfaction and Recovery 2016-2017” (VOF), a survey that supposedly portrayed former Artlets dean Michael Anthony Vasco negatively. Vasco is now dean of the Graduate School.

The CA said the NLRC, an agency formed in 1974 to resolve labor disputes, committed grave abuse of discretion in affirming Jimenez’s suspension as the publication of the survey with negative results could not be considered serious misconduct.

“[T]hese remarks, albeit contained criticisms, were not merely unilaterally made but in fact solicited pursuant to the research methodology employed in the UST-approved VOF survey with a provision for comments,” the court decision read.

Jimenez will be reinstated to his position “without loss of seniority rights” and will be paid backwages, including allowances and benefits, that “may have accrued but otherwise forfeited due to the illegal suspension imposed upon him,” the court stated.

But the Artlets professor will not be awarded moral and exemplary damages because the earlier decision in Jimenez’s case was not done in bad faith, and he was not deprived of due process, the CA said.

Vasco on May 25, 2017 filed a complaint for serious misconduct against Jimenez who commissioned the survey and was the survey publication’s assistant editor.

The dean claimed that it was defamatory as it contained “repulsive remarks” against him and was made in “bad faith” since Jimenez had allegedly exhibited a disrespectful attitude in a series of incidents before the publication of the research. Jimenez denied that he was disrespectful.

The Faculty Tribunal dismissed Vasco’s complaint on July 25, 2017 for lack of merit and claimed that “the VOF is part of academic freedom, and therefore, protected speech.” 

The AB Faculty Council appealed the decision to the Office of the Rector, and in a Dec. 15, 2017 decision, UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy reversed the tribunal’s ruling,  after finding Jimenez “guilty of grave misconduct.” Jimenez was given a one-year suspension.

Jimenez teaches in the legal management program. Eduelle Jan T. Macababbad


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