In a hearing held last August 18, the University Student Government (USG) Judiciary granted the Department of Activity Approval and Monitoring (DAAM)’s motion to dismiss the complaint against School of Economics Government (SEG) President Erielle Chua after the plaintiff and defendant arrived at an internal agreement. Following the motion, Chua is expected to release a public apology not later than August 25 at 9 pm.
The complaint was filed days after the conclusion of this year’s USG General Elections (GE), where Chua ran under Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat). Chua was accused of posting campaign propaganda on a USG unit’s official Facebook account during the election period.
In an interview with The LaSallian, DAAM Chairperson Yedda Diaz explains that the complaint stemmed from an online photo posted on the official Facebook account of SEG. Chua was allegedly responsible for a photo of Tapat candidates for the Executive Board complete with Tapat slogans and hashtags that was posted online on the SEG account last July 27. The photo was originally uploaded on Chua’s personal Instagram account, which happened to be linked to the official SEG account, instead of her own personal Facebook account.
However, according to Chua’s counsel Kevin Tan, she removed the post minutes after upon being notified. “[This shows] that [Chua] was acting in good faith, that it was a mere mishap,” he shares. He explains that Chua has since apologized to the parties affected and deleted the post.
Diaz describes that the act was a violation of the nonpartisanship provision in the USG Constitution and Code of Conduct. She adds that it was not the first time the incident happened, as on July 22, another photo from Chua’s Instagram was posted on the SEG Facebook page.
Diaz says that the prayer for relief called for an investigation to be conducted by the Judiciary on the matter, and, if the Judiciary finds it necessary and if it is just and equitable, for a public apology to be issued by Chua. Tan, adds, however, that the complaint also mentioned the supplementary prayer for Chua’s disbarment or impeachment from office.
Chief Magistrate JC Santos clarifies the prayer asked for a public apology and other sanctions deemed necessary by the Judiciary. He adds that complaints against an elected officer are considered impeachment cases, however.
Before the hearing, Chua’s side reached out to DAAM in order to arrive at a settlement. Tan shares, “We agreed to a settlement where Erielle will deliver a public apology on her negligence on the matter of posting a personal [photo] that ended up in an official account.”
During the meeting, the parties agreed on the elements and content of the public apology, according to Diaz.
DAAM is the body that approves, monitors, and evaluates all the activities of units under the USG. Additionally, DAAM oversees the publicity of such units. “Everything [the units] post on their social media accounts, we approve them first,” shares Diaz.
The Magistrates’ judicial review on the matter is expected to be released not later than August 21.
Update as of August 22, 2016: