Despite convening for a regular session last October 18, the Legislative Assembly (LA) struggled to deliberate on amendments to the University Student Government (USG) Constitution. The representatives in attendance were initially supposed to discuss all proposed amendments for Article I to X of the current constitution. However, only two proposed amendments were raised during the session.
Alfonso Claros, 73rd ENG LA representative, presented the proposed amendments to Articles I and II.
Changes for clarity, integration
The USG Constitution, the cornerstone of the USG, was introduced in 2009—years before the Laguna Campus was formally incorporated as a part of the University. As such, the wording of the constitution does not explicitly account for students in the Laguna Campus.
“Instead of De La Salle University-Manila University Student Government, it will be De La Salle University-Manila and Laguna Campus Student Government (LCSG),” Claros said as he explained the proposed amendment to Article I. This amendment was co-authored with Michele Gelvoleo, LA representative of the Laguna Campus.
Amid minor concern over the wording of the article, majority of the representatives voted in favor, approving the proposed amendment to Article I.
Unfortunately, Claros’ other proposed amendment could not be voted on as it was shelved for revisions in wording. He initially hoped to address the vagueness of Article II, which states: “The members of the USG shall be all undergraduate students of the University.” However, BLAZE2020 LA Representative Urban Teh and FAST2018 LA Representative Maegan Ragudo pointed out the need to be mindful of the implications of wording, much like in the case of the first proposed amendment.
Ragudo also informed the floor that Gelvoleo was working on a revised LCSG Constitution. “Two years ago, may na-pass na yung LA from Laguna pero since nag-iba rin naman yung setting and situation, tini-tailor fit pa ni Ms. Gelvoleo yung Constitution to make sure na tama siya.”
(The LA representative from Laguna passed a prior version two years ago, but the setting and situation have changed. Ms. Gelvoleo is tailoring the Constitution’s revisions to ensure that these are correct.)
Working toward a deadline
The remainder of the session passed quickly as no proposed amendments were presented for Articles III to X. This led Chief Legislator Willem de Castro to reprimand the representatives for being counterproductive. “Sayang ang pagbigay ko sa inyo ng time na mag-research. I didn’t think it would be like this,” he lamented.
(The time I allocated for you to do your research was wasted.)
Though a potential amendment to Article XVIII was raised by a member of the majority floor, it will be discussed during another session to allow for the presence of a representative from the Judiciary. Regardless, de Castro urged the LA representatives to remember that their work was time-bound. “May deadline tayo. Hindi natin aabutin ‘yun kung ganito tayo. There are more than 20 articles in the Constitution [to be tackled,]” he said.
(We have a deadline. We won’t meet it successfully if we keep working like this.)
The USG hopes to conduct the plebiscite for the amendments to the USG Constitution in conjunction with the 2020 General Elections. Prior to the plebiscite, they plan on conducting a campaign to inform students about the proposed changes and the potential benefits they may gain through these amendments.