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LA holds emergency session, questions candidate eligibility

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Amidst the campaigning of candidates for the General Elections, the remaining members of the Legislative Assembly convened yesterday, March 11, for an emergency LA session to contest the eligibility of a candidate in light of some provisions under the USG Constitution.

The said candidate Mark Wong, running as a BLAZE 2014 LA Representative under the political party Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat), was a Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business (RVR-COB) Magistrate in the Judiciary branch for Academic Year 2013-2014. Wong allegedly resigned from his post in the Judiciary prior to the filing of candidacy, as confirmed by the branch.

However, according to the USG Constitution, the resignation of any officer in the University Student Government (USG) is only effective once it is submitted to the Legislative branch, and a resolution on the resignation is passed.

According to the LA’s records, no word on the resignation was submitted to the branch prior to the General Election period, and thus no resolution was made and passed to validate Wong’s resignation from his magistrate position, technically nullifying his resignation from the Judiciary.

The LA convened to discuss the possible measures the LA can take to this matter, namely whether to pass a resolution on the resignation, to file an impeachment case against the magistrate-candidate in question, or to raise the concern to Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and to let them decide on the matter.

The LA decided, after much discussion, to raise the case to COMELEC, and ask the Judiciary to extend the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued against Wong’s campaigning, a TRO which was issued last March 10 and which bars him from campaigning during the duration of the order.

COMELEC, although in charge of supervising the conduct of all parties involved in the entire election period and checking for any violations in the election code, expressed in the session that it will not take matters into its own hands, until any directive is given from either Legislative or Judiciary branch, as per the statement of Chairperson Kevin Caballas.

The Judiciary, in response to a letter on the case submitted by the LA, denied the petition to extend the TRO for the reasons that Wong had submitted his resignation letter to all branches of the USG last February 27, and that Article VIII Section IV of the Officer’s Code of Conduct dictates that the Leave of Absence (LOA) is required to be submitted after the filing of candidacy, to run for a office.

According to the statement given Judiciary, Wong filed his Leave of Absence as a matter of compliance, since the LA did not discuss on the matter.

 

Access the statement of the Judiciary on the case through this link: http://www.mediafire.com/view/9q7alj7qac1hyvq/Decision_TRO031214.pdf

By Kim Ho Jae

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