Behind closed doors: 73rd ENG Batch President puts forgery case to rest

Though they are leaders sworn to “help foster the physical, intellectual, moral, cultural, civic, spiritual and political interests” of the Lasallian student body, the University Student Government (USG) is not without its fair share of controversy. Cases of gross negligence are just some of the issues that have plagued the “sole, unified, autonomous, and democratic” organization, sometimes leading to an official’s impeachment.

Recently, a new case was raised by Michelle Tiu, former Chairperson of the Department of Activity Approval and Monitoring (DAAM). In October last year, Tiu lodged a complaint against 73rd ENG Batch President Madeline Tee after discovering what Tiu believed were forged documents—an impeachable offense according to the USG constitution.

Case in motion

It all started when Tiu stumbled upon a Project Proposal (PPR) Form for the General Assembly (GA) of the 73rd ENG. Section VI of the document details the allocation for funds or the origin of funding of the activity. Any changes made to this section must be countersigned by a designated signatory for the activity to be approved.

“Protocol kasi, as per DAAM, that the Executive Treasurer at yung mga designated signatories niya—I think dalawa silayung pwede mag-countersign ng changes related to the allocation of funds,” Magistrate Andre Miranda explains.

(It is protocol, as per DAAM, that the Executive Treasurer and the designated signatories—I think there are two—are the only ones who are allowed to countersign changes related to allocation of funds.)

However, with the PPR revised and resubmitted, Tiu noticed that the document did not have the countersignature of USG Executive Treasurer Kevin Wu nor any of the designated signatories. Instead, the countersignature was that of Tee’s.

“Tee countersigned the finance part in the [PPR] due to some errors and it is counted as a violation since [Office of the Treasurer] should be the one countersigning it,” Tiu reaffirms.

The former DAAM Chairperson claims there were resemblances in the penmanship of Tee’s and Wu’s signatures in the document, leading to the speculation that they were signed by the same person. Further, Tiu mentions a similar observation from incumbent DAAM Chairperson Genevieve Ang; this time, it concerned the signatories section of the
73rd ENG GA’s Activity Approval Form.

The suspicion was only heightened when Wu himself confirmed that he was not present on the date that the signature was supposedly placed on the document. He recalls, “[Tiu] showed to me regarding the budget, then may nakita kasi akong signature na hindi sa akin. Then I checked the date, and ‘yung date na iyon—the day before—wala ako [in school].”

(I saw a signature that was not mine.)

Although Wu was initially taken aback, he explains that he chose not to press charges upon hearing Tee’s defense. “Na-shock ako pero, inintindi ko muna, gusto ko marinig ‘yung side ni Madeline Tee,” he shares.

(I was shocked, but I wanted to understand and hear out Madeline Tee’s side of the story.)

Tee shares that she provided a “thorough and detailed” account of the events that transpired on the day she had the form signed to back her story. “In all our batch initiatives, we ensure that all papers and documents go through due process, and [we] make the necessary adjustments if needed. It has never been and never will be my intention to bypass any of these,” she declares.

Miranda recalls that DAAM later sent a letter to the Judiciary explaining the issue in detail. This urged the Magistrates to assign a prosecuting officer and council officer to further investigate Tiu’s allegation.

Following the investigation, the Magistrates informed the defendant, Tee, about the allegations and the charges pressed against her. They also required both parties to submit files supporting their claims for the case. With the defendant, Tee, and the complainant, Tiu, informed of the ongoing investigation, both sides were given the option to find a defense lawyer for their case.

Reaching a settlement

In November, the Judiciary published a set of decisions denying two motions filed by Tee—a motion requesting to quash information filed before the Judiciary, and another motion seeking the dismissal of the case.

A motion to quash information is a formal request to the court to declare information filed by the plaintiff as invalid, which can be based on a number of grounds. Miranda explains that Tee based her reasoning on the argument that “the information that was provided was insufficient in some sense or form and that the case was filed on unjust grounds.”

But since both motions had been denied, both parties were left with the option to reach a settlement, agreeing to terms that would dissuade the plaintiff Tiu from pressing charges against Tee, Chief Magistrate Clifford Martinez explains. If both parties fail to do so, only then would an actual trial be conducted.

Tiu, opting to settle, negotiated with Tee and the Judiciary through a closed hearing, Miranda reveals. Tiu explains that she decided not to continue with the case because of her workload. “I couldn’t bear to go further with this case because, during [that] time, my plate was full—academics, [organizations], personal life,” she explains.

With a trial now also out of the question, the Magistrates resolved to instead endorse a workshop, supervised by DAAM, as a preventive measure. The workshop, which focuses on proper handling of and familiarization with student activities paperwork, is being conducted for Tee’s batch government. An examination will later be administered to the attendees of the workshop to assess their proficiency on the matter.


The whole ordeal took its toll on both parties. “I was stressed and tired—emotionally and mentally,” Tee narrates, wanting to “move forward” from the case. She stresses that she will not let the forgery charge affect her performance as a batch representative. Despite her determination to move past the situation, the 73rd ENG Batch President does mention how difficult it was to be the recipient of such allegations. She reveals that this forced her to go on defense as she felt she was “already assumed guilty”.

Tiu also found the case “a little upsetting” because she felt that it was “going in circles”. However, she admits that the verdict given by the Judiciary and the plans settled upon were acceptable.

“Shocked” at the allegations, Tee discloses that she had to “remain strong” and focus on proving her innocence. “I had more than my position to fight for—there was my scholarship, my batchmates, and the integrity of my batch government and officers to think about,” she prompts.

Tee also assures that she and her elected officers have improved their system of processing paperwork, ensuring at similar “miscommunications” would be prevented. Along with this, she is continuously preparing herself for the examination to be administered by DAAM.

“One thing for sure did not change—I still continue to work tirelessly to be the Batch President that 73rd ENG deserves,” Tee declares. With both parties having eventually reached an agreement, their case now served as a test for the newly-reestablished Judiciary branch of the USG.

Ian Kevin Castro

By Ian Kevin Castro

Isabela Marie Roque

By Isabela Marie Roque

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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