The Court of Appeals (CA) has sustained the one-year suspension of a Faculty of Arts and Letters (AB) professor that it initially nullified in 2022, after a successful motion for reconsideration by UST.

The ruling dated Feb. 3 was a 180-degree turn from the appeals court’s decision last year, which favored Asst. Prof. Danielito Jimenez of the BA Legal Management program.

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 portrayed former Artlets dean Michael Anthony Vasco negatively. Vasco is now dean of the Graduate School.

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in 2018 found the survey to be defamatory against Vasco. But the CA in 2022 ruled against the NLRC decision, saying the agency 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.

Vasco filed a motion for partial reconsideration on Aug. 9, 2022, which was granted by the CA First Division in the Feb. 3 ruling penned by Associate Justice Bonifacio Pascua.

“We find that the libelous remarks and comments against Vasco included in the published VOF appear to have no added value to the study…Certainly, the same do not aid the UST in formulating policies,” a section of the 12-page court decision read.

Jimenez said the CA decision was surprising and difficult to acknowledge as it “could have far-reaching implications for teachers and researchers in the academe.”

He said he would bring the case to the Supreme Court, which could review the CA decision and give a final ruling.

“As a Thomasian lawyer, I feel such enormous responsibility to assail this decision and not to just sit back and let this decision stand,” he told the Varsitarian.

“I have faith that our Supreme Court, as the final arbiter and the last bastion of democracy, will give due course to this case with its public interest implications and hopefully give this case the attention it deserves and enrich jurisprudence… This is about the integrity of our justice system and the future of education in our country. And at this time tuloy lang po ako sa pagtuturo.”

According to the latest decision, some of the comments in the survey were defamatory and not related to Vasco’s performance of duties.

Some of the published comments against Vasco were “nothing but personal attacks against the character” of the former AB dean, the CA said.

Jimenez said he published the remarks out of the “objective exercise of free speech,” which the CA refuted.

“Freedom of expression is not an absolute nor unbridled license that gives immunity for every possible use of language and prevents the punishment of those who abuse this freedom,” the court ruling read.

The CA also said the VOF was an “invalid and unreliable research study” as it violated research ethics. Some of those who commissioned the survey also served as research authors, including Jimenez who was the survey publication’s assistant editor.

Testimonies of Jimenez’s witnesses were also found by the CA to be invalid as they only expressed general support for the VOF without evaluating the methodology used.

Vasco first filed a complaint against Jimenez on May 25, 2017 over the “repulsive remarks” against him in the survey.

The University Faculty Tribunal dismissed Vasco’s complaint on July 2017, but its decision was revoked in December 2017 by UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., who found Jimenez guilty of serious misconduct.


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