A Legislative Assembly (LA) session was held last Friday, September 28, to address resolutions on amendments of the Election and Special Election Codes, appointing officers for vacant positions in the University Student Government (USG), and resignation of elected officers from USG units.
Amending the election code
In relation to the resolutions to amend the election and special election codes, the De La Salle University (DLSU) Commission on Elections (COMELEC) pointed out that the planned automated voting would be tested by volunteers before the coming Special Elections (SE) and Freshmen Elections (FE) in November.
Addressing concerns met during the previous elections, COMELEC representative JC Ababan who was present during the session explained that one of the main reasons for the voting period extension was a “miscommunication problem with the administration”. He cited an instance where their unit had to segregate the ID numbers of those from the Laguna Campus from those in the Manila Campus in order to tally voter turnouts.
Other revisions raised and approved in the said session included changing the voting period to four days, with an allowed extended voting period of two days. Voting period was previously allowed to transpire for six days, while also having a two-day extension.
Voter harassment was amended as well, and is to be classified as a major offense to both the candidates and the political parties involved in the coming elections season.
In the context of the Special Election Code, revisions to allow ID 118 students to run for Laguna Campus College Representatives apart from the terminal students in the colleges of Business and Education, and the finalization of the dates for the whole election period were raised, but were laid on the table altogether.
COMELEC disclosed that the tentative date for filing of Certificates of Candidacy (COC) is on October 6 in order to make the election period “constitutional” according to the USG Constitution.
Preparing for Special, Freshmen Elections
The SE was granted due to the failure to reach the required voter turnout of 50 percent plus one for some positions in the 2018 General Elections, caused by voter abstention, party abstention, and judicial rulings. An amendment moved the SE to November because the filing of the COC will be adjusted from three school days to 31 school days.
Other formalities regarding documents to be involved were discussed in preparation for the SE and FE. This includes the publicizing of the Memorandum of Agreement between parties for transparency purposes by posting on COMELEC’s social media accounts; the removal of the notarization of C-02 forms which include the Certificate of Verification and Enrollment Assessment Form or Official Receipt in replacement of the signature of the Director of the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation, and Empowerment (SLIFE); and contesting the need for the Certificate of Good Moral Character (GMC) to validate if the candidate has an offense. An example of the latter expressed during the LA session was on ID policy violations, which are counted as minor offenses, and whether these were grounds for disqualification in running for a USG position.
In the discussion regarding the signature of the SLIFE Director, Ababan clarified that the signature is only essential in verifying documents and not in determining the qualifications of candidates. Minor amendments include additional requirements such as submissions of candidates’ “Their Takes” in both printed and digital versions, and candidates’ GMC certificate, together with their flowchart specifying the units and highlighted courses taken.
In the case that no GMC or flowchart of a freshman candidate is available, a printed copy of their curriculum audit will suffice. Aside from FE and SE scheduled on the same week, no major amendments and issues were tackled.
In line with the motion to grant SE, COMELEC opened the candidacy to all Lasallians interested in vying for a position in the USG.
Changes in the USG
During the session, the LA also tackled the resignation of Katherine Rivera, Laguna Campus Representative for the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB). Rivera was expected to extend her term until the SE are held, but declined the extension, saying that “she would be unable to serve her constituents to the best of her ability.” With 16 representatives voting in favor of the resolution, Rivera’s resignation was approved.
Additionally, Carlo Flauta was appointed as interim College President for the Taft-based RVRCOB and will remain in the position until the SE are held. The position was among those formally declared vacant after the previous GE. The session agenda originally included the resignation of Jona Maria Sanchez, Laguna Campus Representative for the Gokongwei College of Engineering, but she was unable to attend the session.
Other matters discussed during the session include a recommendation for the transfer of jurisdiction of the Department of Activity Approval and Monitoring (DAAM). SLIFE Operations of Student Organizations Coordinator Mica Macayan advised the transfer of DAAM as a function under the Office of the Vice President for Internal Affairs (OVPIA) to the Office of the Executive Secretary (OSEC) instead. Macayan reasoned that the OVPIA was handling a substantial number of responsibilities and that transferring DAAM to OSEC would be able to reduce their workload.
Additionally, it was announced that pre-activity and post-activity documents will be required from LA sessions. Chief Legislator Norbs Sarigumba clarified that this was meant to ensure that the LA is following protocol mandated by SLIFE. The LA suggested that the transfer be formalized first by gaining the approval of the USG Executive Board upon which the LA may proceed with a follow-up resolution.
The next scheduled session for the LA is on Monday, October 1.