During the tenth Legislative Assembly session (LA) last August 16, the tentative start for the Special Elections (SE) 2023, a carryover from the previously postponed polls, was set for the fourth week of Term 1 AY 2023-2024. The assembly also passed the Legislative Procedures Act—responding to an Ombudsman-flagged attempt to probe the postponement—and a disability welfare bill.
The projected timeline for the SE will be from Week 4 to 13 of the term, according to newly-elected DLSU Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairperson Carlos Gaw Jr. Filing for the Certificate of Candidacy will run from Week 4 to 8, while the campaign period will be nine days after, followed by a voting period of six days.
The timeline is yet to be approved by the Office of Student Leadership Involvement, Formation and Empowerment (SLIFE). Gaw added that the Comelec plans to hold the Freshman Elections simultaneously for convenience. He assured that the Comelec has the manpower to hold a joint election.
The new Legal Procedures Act defines specific procedures of the LA. The act clarifies the LA’s jurisdiction to conduct public hearings and inquiries “motu propio” or upon its own discretion with a majority approval, through legislation.
The act also provides guidelines for issuing legal documents to individuals such as subpoenas and writs, as well as grounds for suspensions or impeachments over non-compliance or misconduct.
The act was created after the Office of the Ombudsman flagged the ad hoc committee on the cancellation of the General Elections 2023 regarding their jurisdiction to conduct investigative inquiries. The main proponent, Chief Legislator Sebastian Diaz, said that the act was created for future reference and to set clear and concise guidelines for the LA in their legislative processes.
Diaz clarified that the main difference between holding public hearings and legislative inquiries of the LA to the Judiciary is that the LA will only look at the technicalities of the bill or act that has been passed rather than investigating whoever violated these acts. The aforementioned procedures will be done to aid legislation rather than law enforcement.
Meanwhile, the LA adopted the Disability Inclusion Act which enumerates initiatives, including welfare checks and policy surveys, to receive concerns of persons with disability (PWDs). This is in collaboration with SLIFE, the Health Services Office, Office of Counseling and Career Services, Lasallian Center for Inclusion, Diversity and Wellbeing, and Office of Student Affairs.
Further University-wide efforts for PWD representation and recognition were also encouraged in the act, suggesting awareness campaigns and seminars for disability-sensitive language.