Of resolutions: The life and times of the Legislative Assembly

“What is an LA? What do you do? Are you the lowest—do you have the lowest position among your slate?”

These were some of the questions former Chief Legislator Norbs Sarigumba dealt with when he was holding his old position in the University Student Government (USG). Queries such as this illustrate that the purpose of the Legislative Assembly (LA) is widely misunderstood among the student body.

Current Chief Legislator Stella Santos hypothesizes that this lack of awareness stems from the apathy students generally have towards the USG. “A lot of students don’t know the basic [USG] structure and more so the functions of the Legislative Assembly (LA),” she surmises.

Inner workings

Despite misconceptions, the LA is in fact the highest policy-making body of the USG, as stated in their constitution. Consisting of the Chief Legislator, who facilitates LA sessions; the LA Representatives, who create and vote on resolutions; and the Legislative Secretariat, who maintains the minutes of the meeting. Its members are in charge of creating and revising policies, providing recommendations on new policies that the University administration can then administer.

Patterned after the Philippines’ House of Representatives, the LA is comprised of three subcommittees: the Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW), Rules and Policies (RnP), and the National Affairs (NatAff) committees.

“The scope of the STRAW Committee is very broad,” Sarigumba recalls, citing his brief stint as committee chair when he was FAST2015 Representative. He adds that anything that concerns the students’ rights and welfare—whether inside or outside the University—would be tackled by the committee.

In contrast to STRAW and its commitment to maintaining the rights and welfare of the student body, RnP leads in the revision of the USG Constitution, which happens every three years. Sarigumba emphasizes the committee’s importance as the constitution and its bylaws tackles “how USG units work [and] how [our] officers work.”

Referred to as the “externals arm of the LA” by the former Chief Legislator, NatAff focuses on the creation of manifestos and open letters in response to national issues. Notable cases, such as the alleged extrajudicial killings carried out by the current administration, are some of the topics that the LA has been very vocal about, Sarigumba shares.


The burden of “leading a set of leaders” was among the issues Santos admits she finds difficult. “The task [has] been more daunting than it appeared to be,” she admits, revealing the compromises she had to make to see to it that the LA reaches quorum. Based on the USG Constitution, the USG can only constitute a quorum with at least two-thirds of its members voting in favor of the same resolution.

In failing to reach quorum, decisions made within the context of the LA’s discussion will not be considered binding, unless through an implied quorum, which is decided through a unanimous vote of the 50 percent plus one members of the members present in the session.

For Sarigumba, being a Chief Legislator was no easy task. He recounts that after the 2018 General Elections when certain positions were left unfilled, some LA representatives were forced to extend their terms, including himself. “Since I was one of those that had experience [from] the previous year, I had to step up and become an Interim Chief Legislator,” he adds.

The real challenge, according to Sarigumba, was to ensure that the new batch of LA representatives has the necessary awareness of the process, proper duties and responsibilities, and alignment with their objectives.

Conflict among legislators was another concern the Chief Legislator has to manage. The LA, divided between the Majority and Minority Floor, where the former consists of the party who fills a bulk of the seats in the LA, would often debate on opposite sides of an argument. This system is set up in a way that promotes debate and opposition and ensures that no one party can dominate the LA discussions.

‘Voices heard through their votes’

“The LA is best defined by the quality of resolutions that are passed and how often they discourse and come to consensus,” Santos states. Stressing on the importance of the LA and the responsibilities each representative has to the student body, she explains, “Every LA [representative] has the responsibility to attend sessions to make their voices heard through their votes.”

Sharing similar sentiments with Santos, Sarigumba also highlights the importance of the LA toward providing a better University life to the student body. He acknowledges that, if utilized correctly, the LA could become an essential tool for student representation in the face of the administration and the USG. “At the end of the day, they’re all working for the good of the student body,” Sarigumba expresses.

Deo Cruzada

By Deo Cruzada

Judiel Libot

By Judiel Libot

Enrico Sebastian Salazar

By Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

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