Last October 1, the fourth Legislative Assembly (LA) session was held at the USG Session Hall. In the session, the elections of the LA in respective committees and discussions on the amendments done for the Special Elections Code were done.
Election of LA committee heads
The first agenda for the session was the election of chairpersons for each of the three committees: the Rules and Policies Committee, the National Affairs Committee, and Students Rights and Welfare Committee.
After careful deliberation, EXCEL2018 Representative Sophie Go was elected as the Chairperson for the Rules and Policies Committee, CATCH2T19 Representative Christian Alderite for the National Affairs Committee, and FAST2016 Representative Frances Hernandez for the Students Rights and Welfare Committee.
Moreover, the respective vice chairpersons and secretaries for each committee were also identified.
Open letter for sign language
The second agenda for the session was to craft an open letter on respecting the sign language and sign language communities. This was brought about by a recent viral video where Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar made fun of sign language, drawing the ire of the FIlipino deaf community.
However, the LA could not reach an agreement on the letter’s contents, with some finding it still insufficient in addressing the issue. Proponents Alderite and FOCUS2017 Representative Marco Zulaybar were also equally unsure of whom to address it to directly, motioning to have it laid on the table in the meantime.
Details of Special Elections code
Before the Special Elections Code was passed, several amendments were enacted to ensure it matches the General Election Code. This included changes to party or candidate offenses, candidate qualifications, and time period for formal complaints.
Other changes were made primarily to alter the terminologies used such as changing the usage of the term “Election Code” to instead refer to the “Special Elections Code”. Finally, a section on automated counting was added, based on the prescribed procedures of COMELEC.
The Special Elections Code also included a schedule of the important dates and events as proposed by COMELEC. The filing of candidacies will start on October 6 and close on November 12. The wide time frame was given in order to prevent any late submissions.
The campaign period for all the candidates will then take place from November 14 to November 21. This will be immediately followed by the voting period scheduled on November 22 to 23, and November 27 to 28. After the voting period, the canvassing of the ballots will be on November 29. The announcement of the Special Elections winners will be on December 3.
The resolution for the Special Elections code was passed with a unanimous vote.