UniversityLA reps approve cessation of Ombudsman, plebiscite on constitution
LA reps approve cessation of Ombudsman, plebiscite on constitution
February 28, 2014
February 28, 2014

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The Legislative Assembly (LA) conducted another session today, February 28, focusing on three resolutions: one calling for the submission and publicizing of organizational charts, and another calling for the cessation of operations of the Office of the Ombudsman. The final resolution discussed was that calling for revisions to the University Student Government (USG) Constitution.

Since there was a time constraint, the floor decided to limit the debate regarding the first two resolutions to 30 minutes per resolution, to allot more time for the deliberation and voting for the amendments made to the Constitution.

The first resolution asks for all offices. from batch units to Executive Board (EB) offices to submit their respective organizational charts to the Office of the Secretary (OSEC) to be published in the USG website. FOCUS2011’s Frances Vista explained that the rationale for the resolution calls for transparency in different offices operating under the USG.

The resolution was a response to curb the problem of certain candidates in the General Elections (GE) who claim false positions as part of their credentials. Vista stated that the resolution is a call for all candidates to be honest in declaring their credentials. “Candidates don’t even submit their credentials to the COMELEC. We can’t mandate the political parties to do so. This is our best option,” she reasoned.

The said resolution was later approved. The resolution will encourage transparency and integrity within the USG in order for the student body to have educated as well as informed votes come the GE period.

Patrick Kahn of CATCH2T17 and Binky Suarez of 68th ENG proceeded to open discussion on Resolution No. 2013-49, entitled “Resolution Ordering the Office of the Ombudsman to Immediately Cease and Desist All Operations.”

“Through [a study] of the ’09 Constitution, [it was] realized that the Office of the Ombudsman is not properly defined in that Constitution,” Kahn said. Kahn and Suarez who are the proponents of the resolution argued that there are existing discrepancies regarding the establishment of the Office of the Ombudsman.

Kahn explained that the Office of the Ombudsman should technically fall under Constitutional Commissions. However, there were no mentions of the said office in “any fully encompassing, enabling document of the University Student Government,” according to the resolution. In particular, the office was not mentioned in the ratified 2009 USG Constitution as well as the proposed 2013 USG Constitution which did not push through.

Deputy Ombudsman Cornelio Alfonso III was invited to speak on the floor to explain the other side of the coin. “As of now, the legislative branch is overlapping the powers of the judiciary branch. The LA has no power to interpret the law,” he affirmed.

Suarez assured that the proponents realize the need for the Office of the Ombudsman. However, Kahn explained that they are merely analyzing the faults in the system. The resolution was later on approved.

Micah Fernando of EXCEL2015 reopened the floor for discussion on the resolution calling for revisions to the USG Constitution. A quick run through of all the amendments to the revisions made to the 2009 USG Constitution was done. Discussion regarding the resolution proper was conducted after.

Two additional “wherefore” clauses will take into effect, based on the resolution: that the plebiscite shall be conducted no later than the fourth week of Term 2, AY 2014-2015, and that AY 2014-2015 will serve as a transition period from the 2009 USG Constitution to the Revised USG Constitution.

The voting process for the resolution was done by role call in which each representative was given five minutes to deliver a speech stating their vote and explaining such. In summary, 19 representatives voted for, 1 against, and 1 abstain, resulting to the resolution’s approval. The voting turnout is detailed in the table below:

FOR

AGAINST

ABSTAIN

  1. 68th ENG

  2. 67th ENG

  3. 65th ENG

  4. EDGE2013

  5. EDGE2012

  6. EDGE2011

  7. CATCH2T17

  8. CATCH2T16

  9. BLAZE2016

  10. BLAZE2015

  11. BLAZE2013

  12. FAST2013

  13. FAST2012

  14. FOCUS2013

  15. FOCUS2012

  16. FOCUS2011

  17. EXCEL2016

  18. EXCEL2015

  19. EXCEL2013

  1. CATCH2T15

  1. FAST2010