“This Constitution shall take effect the school year following the ratification by a majority of fifty percent plus one votes cast by the members of the USG at a plebiscite called for by this purpose and shall supercede all previous constitutions.”- Article XXIX of the USG constitution
Following the University’s integration with the new Science and Technology Complex (STC), the USG, through the Legislative Assembly (LA), has decided to add a supplementary guideline that would make STC a part of the USG. The move was made in lieu of the option to ask students to cast a plebiscite vote to ratify the 2013 USG Constitution.
The inclusion of STC in the USG constitution is part of the USG and the University’s move to integrate student activities and organizations. Under the one USG proposal, STC, which has slightly more than 500 students, would be considered an entire college, and should hence have seats for equal representation in the USG.
Under the same policy, DLSU-STC would be under one USG president and one LA. As of press time, the University has yet to release venue and transportation details that would come as a necessity for joint meetings and LA sessions in the near future.
USG Chief Magistrate Miguel Adriano explains that the move to have one USG constitution is necessary to fully integrate the policies and functions of the different USG units, including STC’s representatives. He adds that aside from being contrary to the one USG drive, the option to have two separate constitutions would also give rise to different student governments, as well as conflicts between the two bodies.
Initially, the USG last January 18, 2013 voted on the new 2013 constitution following Article XXVI of the current Constitution, which states, “Any amendment or revision of this Constitution may be proposed by the students through an initiative upon a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the LA.”
USG President Jana Cabuhat explains that the USG failed to reach a quorum. Out of 94 elected officers, only 60 came to the meeting. Hence, the USG could not pass the Constitution. Moreover, several USG officers argued that the USG couldn’t vote for the Constitution through a quorum.
Adriano explains that the bigger issue lies with the interpretation of a different article. Under Article XXIX, the Constitution explicitly states, “This Constitution shall take effect the school year following the ratification by a majority of fifty percent plus one votes cast by the members of the USG at a plebiscite called for by this purpose and shall supercede all previous constitutions.”
Adriano argues that the members of the USG pertain to the entire undergraduate student body, composed of more than 15,200 students. He justifies, “Under Article II of the Constitution, the members of the USG shall be all undergraduate students of the University.” Hence, a vote to pass and ratify the 2013 USG constitution, according to the USG Judiciary, would make the responsible USG officers, which include the president, impeachable for unconstitutional action.
The last plebiscite vote resulted in the transition from the Student Council (SC) to the USG. The vote was done through the My.LaSalle (MLS) system. The system, however, failed and eventually, the student government had to add the MLS results and the ballot results to pass the plebiscite.
The judiciary will release a statement, and a position on the aforementioned articles.
In a meeting between the Cabuhat, Adriano and Chief Legislator Carl Au, Au explained that the LA could provide a supplementary guideline that would include STC in the USG.
He reasoned that STC’ssuccessful plebiscite last February 4, 2013 where 95 percent of the student body voted for the change, is enough to establish STC’s interest to use the USG’s current constitution.
According to Adriano, his office does not find anything unconstitutional about the supplementary guideline.
Cabuhat, however, warns that supplementary guidelines were made during the one-year transitory period. She furthers that the USG has already been in existence for three years, and should minimize the use of the supplementary guidelines. Moreover, she adds that the use of supplementary guidelines may become a bad practice in the USG.
The last supplementary guidelines approved the separation of the School of Economics (SOE) from the College of Business (COB), and established the batch vice-president position.
While the solution has evaded several key points of conflict in the integration of both student governments, Cabuhat explains that the succeeding USG must pass the new constitution through a plebiscite.
As of press time, the USG, in coordination with the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE), is in the process of requesting the ITS office to revive the old MLS voting system in preparation for the AY 2013-2014 plebiscite vote.
The USG could not accomplish the vote this year predominantly because the ITS office needs at least a month to revive the system. Moreover, in a few weeks, several USG officers will apply for a Leave of Absence (LOA) in preparation for the coming General Elections.
Related article: DLSU-STC integration nearing implementation