UniversityStruggles in the USG’s Judiciary branch
Struggles in the USG’s Judiciary branch
August 7, 2013
August 7, 2013


The University Student Government (USG), patterned after the Philippine government, is composed of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branch to ensure that the welfare of the students are upheld by fulfilling the respective duties tasked to each of the branches.

The judiciary, being the sole branch in the USG with the judicial power to resolve issues involving officers and units under the USG, is committed to become a student-oriented entity in the University.

Of the branch’s primary function, Chief Magistrate Rem Serrano says, “We are more focused on maintaining the order in the USG – maintaining that our USG remains a student-oriented body, and that our officers are doing their job.”

The judiciary furthermore provides services and assistance to the students who may even have concerns on matters outside of the USG.


Structure and functions

After its major organizational renovation last year, it is now composed of the Judiciary Administrative Affairs Office (JAAO), Counsel Officers, Student Advisers, and Office of the Ombudsman, aside from chief magistrates, magistrates of each college, and Judiciary Core (JudCore).

While JAAO and JudCore are concerned with administrative functions of the branch, Counsel Officers and Student Advisers extend case-related helps and services to concerned DLSU students.

Counsel Officers, according to Serrano, are mainly concerned with USG related cases and are expected to be equipped with comprehensive knowledge on the USG Constitution, acting as student lawyers once cases are filed to USG Supreme Court.

On the other hand, Student Advisers are centered on assisting students with the steps of going through due process of disciplinary and grievance cases, acting as advisers to any concerned students. As of press time, however, Judiciary is yet to consult with Student Discipline Formation Office (SDFO) on the extent of the student advisers’ involvement in the disciplinary cases.


Uninformed student right

Along with its external help to the students on grievance and disciplinary cases, the Judiciary tackles USG-related issues revolving around the violation of the Constitution and bylaws, the gross negligence of duty, illegal disbursements of duty, and other misconduct from both elected and non-elected USG officers.

The students do not need to be part of USG to file a case. Any concerned student can file a case against USG officers with reasonable grounds.

Article 20 Section 3 of USG Constitution dictates “Any student or officer of the USG may file a resolution of impeachment against any USG officer. The resolution must be addressed to the Chief Magistrate.”

Serrano adds, “I believe that not all students know of their right to file a case. Any undergraduate student can file a case against any officer if they think or if they believe that he or she is committing something wrong. The misconception is whenever there is a case, it only comes from an elected officer, or the Ombudsman.”

To protect the safety of the complainant from possible harm that may result from filing a case, the Judiciary provides an alternative to file the case in the name of the Ombudsman instead. The Ombudsman will then be in charge of investigating the case and gathering evidence to be presented at the court before the magistrates.

However, although the Ombudsman is tasked to go through the investigation, concerned students may still investigate if they wish to.

Daniel Ang, previous deputy Ombudsman, shares, “Although every Lasallian can investigate [on a case], we have observed that most [of the students] do not exercise this right, and so the USG Judiciary constructed the [Ombudsman] division that will be tasked to do [investigations] to promote more accountability and transparency in the USG.”


Publicity concerns

The unit’s lack of publicity and the distinction of functions remain to be fundamental concerns for the branch, making it hard for the students to reach the branch.

While the electoral system for the two other branches under USG adds to the publicity of each branch and contributes to students’ understanding of its functions and roles in the USG, the officers of the Judiciary branch practice a different system. While the officers are being recruited, magistrates and chief magistrate have to go through several trainings necessary before they are appointed a position.

Alongside having its own operation to fill the seats, the nature of the branch is not concerned with creating activities and spearheading projects that directly affects the stakeholders within the University.

“One of the main problems of the Judiciary is that Lasallians don’t know about it,” Serrano shares. “When Lasallians hear University Student Government, all they think of is the Executive and Legislative branches because they are the only ones you can see [around the University] while the Judiciary is more of the [one working] behind the scenes of USG.”

However, their prospects for this academic year appear to have changed, as the branch plans to strengthen publicity through various methods such as room-to-room information campaigning and the re-launching of the website.

  • Morty

    What is the purpose of the Ombudsman and the JudCore? Am I to assume that the JudCore is composed of the core members of the Judiciary? This sounds so much like Tapat’s and Santugon’s structure where they do have a set of “core” members. The Judiciary is sounding more like a political party. Furthermore, if my assumption is correct, won’t having a JudCore alienate the other members of the branch much like what happens to a person when they join a political party?

    • Revrev Sumagaysay

      Oh my, sobrang assuming. But I will answer just to alleviate you from your ignorance. Unang una, alamin mo muna kung ano yung CORE na sinasabi. First of all, the core is composed of the heads of different committees, such as documentations, recruitment and training, etc. Obviously, this is a NEED. Hindi tayo professionals. At malamang, dapat may head ang bawat isa niyan. Kung wala, sino magcocommand? Magistrates nanaman? They have enough on their hands. Thus, the rest of your argument should be considered invalid. Oh, and if you were a part of the branch, you would see how well people communicate here.

      • Morty

        And I reiterate that my argument stems from the assumption that the JudCore is composed of the core members of the Judiciary. Why separate the core from the JAAO? I know that before there was no Core, the heads of each committee were part of the JAAO. There was no need to name the heads of the different committees and everyone can approach each other. So why take the extra step of naming the leaders of each committee as part of the Core? Are you all that hungry for name and power? Maybe I’m part of the branch? Maybe all the things I’ve said here have already been raised but not one of you gave any consideration. By the way, thank you for alleviating me of my ignorance. I actually expected a more respectful reply. Your reply tells me a lot about your character and you as a representative and a leader of the branch. So do you feel superior now? Does your arrogance make you feel good?

        • Revrev Sumagaysay

          To make it clear, the Judicial Department is composed of the COs, SAs, and JAAOs. The Judicial Core is composed of the heads of each of those. They are NOT separate from each other, much like you would call an organization’s Executive Board. This article was mistaken. After all, what would an outsider really know about the branch? And I reiterate my statement again, we NEED the heads for each of those committees. You obviously have no knowledge of the mechanics of a governing body. You think what you say will happen on its own? Ano ‘to, Eutopia? Get out of your pedestal. The world doesn’t work like that. Also, maybe all the things you’ve said have already been raised, as you say. But MAYBE, you never thought that those were unacceptable? MAYBE, nobody considered it because it was, in fact, something which is of no importance or concern? MAYBE, you would have gotten the respect that you wanted had you provided something which are not based on LIES? AGAIN, get out of your pedestal. You hide behind an anonymous avatar, yet you think you’re so high and mighty that you could pass judgement over the whole branch. You’re just a coward who was never considered in the first place. That’s probably why you’re here, spouting all of your bullcrap. Oh, and I am in no way a leader of the branch. Just a humble member who definitely knows more than you do. Maybe I am arrogant. But then again, maybe you just don’t DESERVE my respect. By the way, please look on the dictionary definition of ignorant. You probably don’t know what it means, seeing as you get so butt hurt being labelled as such.

    • Revrev Sumagaysay

      And oh yeah, the Ombudsman is there to keep watch over the other branches. Hindi pwedeng CoA lang kasi yung Ombudsman yung magpprosecute. I think you should do your research.

  • Morty

    In any kind of judiciary from any parts of the world, there is no core because it isn’t an executive or legislative body that would need one. Everything should be decided by the Magistrates. So why is there a need for a Core? If the purpose of the Core is so that they will relay concerns from the members to the Magistrates, why not have the members just address the Magistrates directly? It’s looking like the Core was just established to give some exclusivity to some of the members. Make them feel superior or something?

  • Hanz Darryl Tiu

    Hirap talaga pag makitid ang utak.

    • Morty

      Aside from saying that I am narrow-minded, please tell me why. And also, word of advice, as a member of the Judiciary, even if you’re just a committee member, anything you do or say is a reflection of the branch. Just saying.

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