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LA restricts partisanship, approves officer resignations in emergency session

The University Student Government (USG) Legislative Assembly (LA) held an emergency session over Zoom last October 16 to make preparations ahead of the new academic year (AY). Taking almost four hours, legislators approved resolutions on improvements on the LA database and training, an institutionalized Filipino Youth Summit (FYS), and numerous officer resignations and appointments.

‘Political impartiality’

EDGE2019 Batch Representative Johann Coscolluela, alongside other ID 119 LA Representatives, presented a resolution to strengthen the constitutional provisions on political impartiality.

Despite their own survey showing that 57.7 percent of student respondents have not observed partisan bias among USG officers, Coscolluela pointed out that the student government “[does not] have any limitations when it comes to becoming politically partisan, and this ruins our representation as USG officers.”

Their proposal prohibits acts considered to be partisan, including wearing political party paraphernalia, publicly degrading and promoting candidates, and discriminating against applicants to USG offices on the basis of political affiliation.

Procedural guidelines on filing complaints have also been drafted: any student with sufficient evidence that an officer in the student government has violated these regulations should submit these to the Judiciary, who will then conduct investigations and hold possible trials. USG officers found guilty of partisanship may be given a written warning or be suspended from duty.

With only minor revisions, the resolution was approved unanimously.

FYS institutionalized

The body also institutionalized the FYS, a flagship project of the USG’s Office of the Vice President for External Affairs (OVPEA) that is endorsed by the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE).

FYS DLSU Executive Director Angelo Casipe told the LA that the annual conference “has been continuously uplifting its purpose and advocacy in empowering the youth” since its first convocation in 2018. SLIFE Coordinator John Lingatong, who was also in attendance, informed legislators that his office would partner with the program, which is expected to give the latter financial security. 

According to Casipe, by having FYS institutionalized, it would, in effect, have its own independent decision-making body which will allow the organizing team to act without time constraints.

CATCH2T21 Representative Jaime Pastor and Majority Floor Leader Maegan Ragudo, however, warned that this motion may not be favored by future OVPEA heads who might not be as willing to continue the project. Ragudo instead suggested that SLIFE oversee the project while the USG serve as a partner. But USG Vice President for External Affairs Ronin Leviste maintained that FYS “reflects the job responsibilities of the OVPEA.”

Assembly training, database, DRRM committee formed

The LA also passed a resolution that will require its members to undergo mandatory training on the “proper and objective” creation of resolutions. Coscolluela, who co-authored the measure, expounded that while they had already conducted training sessions before, the resolution provides for the invitation of professionals in the field of law.

Meanwhile, EXCEL2021 Batch Representative Katkat Ignacio put forward the publication of an LA journal as an improvement to a past resolution to create an “LA Vault”. She described the proposed journal as a database meant to uphold consistency and avoid redundancy in creating resolutions. It would allow LA Representatives to organize past and future resolutions and compile information on the LA’s history and on its previous and incumbent members. It will be managed by the Office of the Chief Legislator and will be made available to the Lasallian community, allowing students to request information on resolutions.

Further, Minority Floor Leader Neal Gonzales, along with EXCEL2020 Batch Representative Nina Bermejo and FAST2019 Batch Representative Lara Jomalesa, presented a resolution that would form a Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) Ad Hoc Committee in DLSU to ensure “streamlined communication” when a disaster comes.

Resignations and nominations

With the General Elections pushed back to Term 1 of AY 2020-2021, multiple USG officers tendered their resignations to the LA, mostly either due to academic responsibilities or the completion of their undergraduate degrees.

Those graduating are USG Executive Secretary Earl Joseph Baillo, Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business President Nathan Driz, College of Liberal Arts President Jose Antonio Felipe, FAST2017 Batch President Kristina Manzano, and Gonzales.

Meanwhile, those who vacated their posts citing academic reasons were Gonzales, BLAZE2020 LA Representative Urban Teh, EXCEL2020 LA Representative Nina Bermejo, BLAZE2021 LA Representative Robin Lim, and Laguna Campus Student Government President Enrico Español. EXCEL2020 Batch President Vince Yao also resigned as he is set to take a leave of absence.

All elected officials of the EDGE2019 Batch Government—Cosolluela, Batch President Kyla Navarro, and Batch Vice President Marc Lee—have also left their positions after shifting out of the Brother Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education.

College of Computer Studies President Rafael Topacio also stepped down to assume an executive role in the La Salle Computer Society.

Replacing Baillo, Driz, Felipe, and Topacio will be their respective chiefs of staff, Annika Silangcruz, Lyka Samsom, Michelle Orbeta, and Carlo Santos.

Appointments were also planned for the now-vacant EDGE2019 seats, but these were postponed due to the need for prior consultations with their college president.

The LA is also awaiting the submission of USG Executive Treasurer Kevin Wu’s resignation letter and plans to nominate and elect a new Chief Legislator and new committee officers on their next session.

By Kim Balasabas

By Dustin Albert Sy

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