Last February 4, Juan Rabacca, a counsel officer of the Judiciary, sent a complaint letter to the magistrates accusing USG Executive Secretary Ria Atayde of conduct that stand as a ground for impeachment as stated in the existing USG Constitution.
The pre-hearing for the case was held today at Y607 to clarify the points in the complaint letter, in order that the magistrates might listen to the views of the parties involved.
According to the complaint letter, Rabacca states that Atayde committed two acts which are grounds for impeachment: “gross negligence of duty” and “behaviors which undermine the integrity of the USG”, both stated under the Article X of Section 4 in the USG Constitution.
He furthered in the letter that she showed gross negligence of her duty as an Executive Secretary, duties which are outlined in the Article IX Section 4 of USG Constitution.
He cited that she failed to “Be the official custodian of all records and papers of USG,” “Be responsible for efficient USG office management,” “Be responsible for the training and development and other concerns and needs of USG officers in the discharge of their duties,” and that she failed to “Coordinate with the other offices to facilitate the maintenance of a complete and effective filing system of the USG,” which are covered by Sections 4.4, 4.6, 4.7, and 4.9, respectively.
Rabacca claims that Atayde was unable to furnish the excuse letter of a Legislative Assembly Representative (LA Rep) due to be handed to the Ombudsman during the impeachment case against four LA Reps held this term, when she should have been in possession of said document as official keeper of the USG documents, in violation of Section 4.4.
For the second point, he reasoned that she did not manage the USG office properly by not strictly enforcing the house rule which requires the USG officers and visitors to wear USG IDs.
Rabacca also cited the latest impeachment case against Nina Cervero, the LA Rep, on which he said that the LA Secretariat Chairperson Russel Cheng was not sufficiently trained by Atayde, and which caused Cheng’s negligence as the LA Secretariat Chairperson.
He furthers that in the first place, the office has no proper documentation system implemented for use in the USG to have all the documents immediately ready, and that at any given time the student body would hardly have access to the needed documents. He related afterwards that such gross negligence of duty leads to the behavior which undermines the integrity of USG, his second accusation for impeachment.
Atayde defended on the first point that the excuse letters are in the hands of the LA itself, and that the only time Office of Executive Secretary (OSEC) keeps those letters to itself is when the LA leaves the letters in the pigeon hole in the USG office.
On the second point, Atayde admitted that there were lapses in the implementation of house rules in USG office, but argued that to claim that OSEC failed to fulfill its job is a hasty generalization, for not all units in the USG office comply with the house rules, despite several follow-ups on the part of OSEC.
She again admitted her mistake for not training Cheng who replaced the first LA Secretariat after resigning from the position. She added that she thought he was aware of the job of the position, considering that he accepted to take the position.
After all the clarifications and questions were raised by the magistrates, Atayde gave her final words on the matter, stating that she felt that “impeachment is too grave of a punishment for the acts committed.”
The magistrates, after a short deliberation, dismissed the case.
They reasoned that an accused cannot be charged with two charges connected to each other, and that although the rule of accountability calls for her to be accountable as an elected officer for all her faults the appointed officers may have committed, she cannot be solely burdened for the faults, and that the complainant lacked substantial evidence to support his accusations.