The Legislative Assembly (LA) was finally able to elect a new Chief Legislator in an emergency session last March 12 presided over by Vice President for Internal Affairs Jaime Pastor. After failing to reach a consensus in two rounds of voting last week, BLAZE2022 LA Representative Giorgina Escoto edged EXCEL2021 LA Representative Katkat Ignacio by one vote, 13-12, after legislators went through appointments and a resignation that increased their headcount to 25.
New appointees, resignees
Prior to the election of the new LA chief, Luis Martinez and Shasha Villaroman were appointed as FAST2017 LA Representative and CATCH2T21 LA Representative, respectively. In his speech, Martinez expressed interest in institutionalizing enlistment and enrollment education as well as lobbying for changes in the current exit survey for graduating students to make them “more career-oriented.” Meanwhile, Villaroman is looking to “reform” policies around independent learning weeks and a greater emphasis on asynchronous modes of learning.
Meanwhile, John Velasco was also unanimously appointed as Batch Vice President for CATCH2T21. He plans on creating a text blast system for students to receive reminders and important announcements from the University and the University Student Government and ensuring that his batchmates will receive different career opportunities in the future.
The resignation of former CATCH2T21 Batch President Harvey Taino was also approved within the session. Taino said that he needed to improve his academic performance and reinstate his scholarship which had been suspended.
Eligibility of LCSG solon nominee questioned
Following Michele Gelvoleo’s resignation as Laguna Campus Student Government (LCSG) LA Representative, Pauline Carandang, also an LCSG LA Representative, submitted a resolution to appoint Javi Pascual as Gelvoleo’s replacement.
However, legislators called Pascual’s eligibility into question, citing Section 3.1.1 of the Replacement Officer Guidelines in the USG Constitution, which requires batch level replacements to be from the same college and year level as the vacating officer.
Pascual confirmed that he is a frosh; Gelvoleo is a third year student.
FAST2019 LA Representative Lara Jomalesa questioned whether LCSG follows the same protocol and suggested laying the resolution on the table, but Carandang countered, presenting a correspondence she had with Chief Magistrate Clifford Martinez, who confirmed to her that Pascual was eligible.
Judiciary Inspector General Elijah Flores was called to the floor to answer queries about the provision. He explained that based on his “plain reading” of the provision, frosh are exempted from the rule. Escoto and Jomalesa asked whether this meant that a frosh could replace any LA representative in any year level, to which Flores said that belonging to the same college as the vacating officer would suffice but clarified that replacements for batch-level positions should still come from the same batch.
“If LA ang papalitan, ideally, yes (same college and year level) since you’re talking about representing the student body, particularly from a specific college or level,” he explained, “pero I think that would also be within the purview or the discretion of the appointing body.”
The legislature did eventually lay Pascual’s appointment on the table.
Statement against “Bloody Sunday”
The LA also approved the release of a statement in response to a series of raids conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) last March 7 to apprehend supposed members of the New People’s Army. Dubbed “Bloody Sunday”, the crackdown saw nine deaths and six arrests across three provinces in Calabarzon.
75th ENG LA Representative Vera Espino shared that the statement has already secured approval from the Committee on National Issues and Concerns and the DLSU administration. The statement called out the PNP for committing various human rights violations during the crackdown and urged lawmakers and the Department of Justice to investigate the matter.