Risa to De Vera: Face complaint, not media

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday challenged Commission on Higher Education chairperson Prospero de Vera III to answer the alleged corruption under the agency’s scholarship program.

“The Chair should make his case before the Blue Ribbon, not before the media,” Hontiveros said after De Vera insisted that there were no violations in the disbursement of funds for free higher education.

“For me, the hundreds of students’ complaints call for a formal hearing, instead of asking for evidence in the media. For the sake of our students, let us get to the bottom of the issue,” she added.

The lady lawmaker claimed that roughly 400 students reached out to her office to report that they have not yet received their education subsidies.

“The complaints of ghost scholars came from reports of students who have been writing to us. I want to clarify that this particular complaint about ghost scholars came after we accepted the zoom meeting request of Chair De Vera,” she stressed.

“The resolution we filed appears to have opened a can of worms and every day they look away and gaslight our scholars, we get more complaints,” she said.

Hontiveros is referring to the resolution she filed last month that seeks an investigation of the alleged irregularities in the disbursement of almost P7 billion funds earmarked for the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education program of CHEd.

“This, combined with adverse findings by CoA (Commission on Audit), appears to show a pattern of multiple irregularities regarding UniFAST,” she said.

“There are nonstop complaints coming in. It is saddening because they feel like they have no one to lean on. CHEd should work on restoring that trust rather than dismissing the reports that my office receives,” she added.

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