MANILA -- Administration lawmakers on Monday welcomed the resignation of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan, saying this would allow a smoother implementation of education reforms envisioned by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement, PBA Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles said this recent development will give CHED a "fresh start' as he hoped to see urgent reforms take place in the commission.

"I wish to thank Chairperson Licuanan for her contributions to the commission and for seeing the light at a time that it is most needed. I wish her well, too, in her future endeavors," Nograles said.

Nograles earlier exposed the irregularities in the commission such as Licuanan's abuse of foreign travel privileges as well as the serious delays of releasing faculty scholars' benefits under the K to 12 transition program.

Nograles has also called for a congressional probe into this CHED irregularity.

"Our scholars can now heave a sigh of relief and have good reasons to hope that their problems will be soon resolved," he added.

Meanwhile, Nograles' older brother, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, said Licuanan's resignation could pave the way for a faster implementation of the free college education law.

"I would like to thank Patricia Licuanan for the services she rendered to the country during her lengthy term as Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson. Her resignation shows us that she is aware of the current ills of CHED and that she is giving President Duterte a free hand in solving these problems," Karlo said.

The older Nograles said the controversies hounding Licuanan would only distract her and the entire agency from carrying out the programs intended for the education sector.

"Her resignation was the best thing that she could have done for the sake of the country's students, especially with the upcoming implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act," he noted.

Licuanan has announced her resignation on Monday morning after the agency's flag ceremony, in the midst of allegations hurled against her over foreign travels in 2017.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte is set to accept Licuanan's resignation, after receiving her resignation letter via e-mail.

Licuanan said she received a call from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea over the weekend asking her to resign.

"While my term ends in 2018, I have decided it is time to go," she said, adding that there were persons determined to oust her from the office “through false and baseless accusations.”

While the CHED official denied the accusations against her, she said that she opted to resign since her presence at CHED would only "hinder the agency's urgent reforms", adding that it would only spark more controversy along the way. (PNA)