The Judiciary branch impeached BLAZE2020 Legislative Assembly (LA) Representative Anton Mapoy last September 17 after the court found him guilty of negligence and gross negligence of duty. The verdict also bars him from holding any future office in the University Student Government (USG).
Mapoy, who was tried in absentia after failing to appear in all Judiciary hearings, is the second LA representative to be removed from office for exceeding the allowed number of unexcused absences following the case of EDGE2018 LA Representative Celine Dabao, who pleaded guilty last week.
Both cases were filed by EXCEL2021 LA Representative Katkat Ignacio and EXCEL2022 LA Representative Aeneas DR Hernandez, both of whom belonged to the minority floor.
In the Judiciary’s decision, Mapoy was found guilty of violating Rule 4, Section 3 and Rule XV, Section 6.3.4 of the Rules of the LA, which allows at most three unexcused absences in LA Sessions for the entire academic year. Attendance records showed that he had exceeded the limit by doubling his incurred unexcused absences since his appointment in March.
Mapoy had also been found to have violated Article IV of the USG Code of Conduct and Responsibilities, which covers attendance policies under the Executive Secretary, as he had not given any excuse letter to the office in question.
However, he was found not guilty of violating Section 2.1.3, Article XII of the USG Code of Violations as the measure is not yet in effect.
Mapoy justified his absences in an interview with the plaintiffs’ lead counsel Lunette Nuñez, explaining that certain circumstances during a “bad month” of July had caused him distress and prevented him from submitting the required excuse letters.
Mapoy had provided four major reasons. The first was an alleged break-up, which the court did not accept as “no law provides for the acceptance of such an excuse.”
The legislator also revealed that he had supposedly gone under quarantine after being exposed to a COVID-positive patient. While the Judiciary agreed that such a case is excusable, Mapoy failed to submit the support medical documents with an excuse letter to the Office of the Chief Legislator and the Office of the Executive Secretary.
Mapoy was also diagnosed with an illness, to which he submitted supporting documents, including an MRI scan. But the court also did not consider the evidence given the lack of a medical certificate, which is also a requirement as per USG guidelines, that would have provided an explanation from a physician on the technical images.
Lastly, Mapoy also revealed that he started a business in June, one that is, according to him, a priority “‘cause that’s money coming in.” Chief Magistrate Jericho Quiro found this willful choice to neglect legislative duties unacceptable.
“When there is a conflict between a USG officer’s private life and his role as a public servant, one’s duties and responsibilities as a public officer shall be given the greater importance,” he wrote. “In this regard, Mr. Mapoy clearly failed.”
Aside from his unexcused absences in LA Sessions, Mapoy also failed to attend regular meetings in the Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) college legislative board, apart from an orientation meeting. FAST2019 LA Representative Lara Jomalesa, meanwhile, also testified that the defendant was only present “once or twice” in the Majority Floor’s weekly meetings. Both witnesses, other Majority Floor members, and RVRCOB College President Marcus Guillermo attempted to reach out to him but failed.
Even the Judiciary found it difficult to contact Mapoy regarding the case, resulting in the dismissal of his court-appointed legal counsels due to their “inability to properly represent the defendant.”