Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A Glaring Violation

This is with regard to the Consultative Commission on Charter Change:

Executive Order No. 453 creating the Consultative Commission (ConCom) on Charter Change explicitly states in its Section 4, on Qualifications to the ConCom, that

Public officials, unless they resign from their respective offices, are disqualified from being members of the Consultative Commision.

Have ConCom members Camiguin Governor Pedro Romualdo, Naval Municipal Mayor Gerardo Espina Sr., La Union Governor Victor Ortega, San Fernando Pampanga Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and Calbayog City Mayor Mel Senen Sarmiento, among others, resigned their public offices?

If they have not, is this another unique interpretation of the law?

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Party Line(s)

It is interesting how events on the national political scene are sometimes manifest in the microcosm of UP Student Politics.

Last Friday's GAMOT Forum and the statement I released with regard to CAS Chair Sheena Trinidad's surprise airtime at the end of the program (see my blog post immediately preceding this one) were responded to by no less than the ASAP-Katipunan Party Chairperson, Ms. Merilla May Bation (via e-mail to the GAMOT egroup):

Sheena Trinidad was not speaking in behalf of the CAS Student Council but for ASAP Katipunan, which she is also the spokesperson. it was also said during the program that she was representaing ASAP Katipunan and not CAS-SC. It was clearly stated in our meeting the day before the forum that member orgs can have their activities announced after the open forum. i do not believe that what she did was gross disrespect to the rest of the student councils for she did not impose CAS-SC's stand on the issue but ASAP Katipunan's stand.

i urge everyone to cross party lines for these times call for greater unity.

This is my rejoinder:

Dear AK Chairperson Bation,

Is it coincidence that Chairperson Trinidad and the CAS Student Council is the only College Student Council who has formally manifested to the USC GA the "oust" position?

I would not have reacted had your party delivered the statement through a non-incumbent student leader. However, as the case is, the event has happened and reactions have been manifested to the undersigned.

It is common knowledge that officials of high positions such as student council Chairpersons, when they speak, are interpreted to be speaking in their capacity. Otherwise, the very nature of our formation - the ire against President Arroyo - would be misguided. How would UPM PGH GAMOT react if PGMA said that she called Garcillano in her capacity as Mrs. Arroyo, spokesperson of Lakas-NUCD and not as the Philippine President?

Case in point: one of the arguments PGMA used to defend herself against the impeachment charges was that she made the phone calls before her inauguration as President last June 30, 2004. Hence, her lawyers argued, she cannot be impeached because technically, she still was not elected President at the time of the Garci calls. Do we agree with this type of defense? I personally do not.

I urge everyone not to apply double standards. For us to succeed in our advocacies, we must practice what we preach. And, I join you in the call to cross party lines for greater unity. Thank you.

Yours truly,

Albert Francis E. Domingo
Chairperson, 27th USC Manila

In the understanding that your reply (as forwarded to the GAMOT egroup) is clarificatory to what happened, I shall disseminate our exchange to the student body.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

USC Manila Updates

1.) Freshie Sportsfest

Congratulations to the USC Manila Committee on Sports headed by Rep. Will Dacuyan (CD)! The USC SportsComm recently held its sportsfest for freshmen. Even though the weather was grumpy, the games played on.

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2.) Post-Mortem on Impeachment

As a co-convenor of the UPM PGH GAMOT (Gloria Move Out!) Coalition, the USC Manila co-sponsored a forum on the impeachment process' death and what lies ahead. This was held at the BSLR-E, UPCM yesterday, 9/16/2005. Speakers included Reps. Chiz Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, Arnulfo Fuentebella, Liza Maza, and Rolex Suplico.

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In relation to the UPM PGH GAMOT affair, this is my letter to our co-convenors in relation to persistent requests that GAMOT should take on a stronger position beyond resignation and add more reasons for GMA's "ouster" aside from election fraud:

Dear co-convenors of GAMOT,

Regarding adding more information to GAMOT's statements, the USC must insist that all statements should be reviewed and not just added. We (USC) cannot lump together all issues into one call because they have not been discussed in student consultations.

We do not want to impose on the student body; the USC's continued membership in GAMOT is interpreted as the student body's consent to GAMOT's actions. Hence we must insist on our position that if other GAMOT member organizations would want to forward calls beyond resignation or in addition to the electoral fraud, these statements should be signed by those respective organizations and not by GAMOT.

Also, we maintain that GAMOT should stay with "resign", for that is the maximum unity point. I must respectfully state that anything beyond resign will cause the departure of the USC from GAMOT, unless our resolutions change otherwise.

I know that we are starting to sound like brakes, but that is the will of the majority of UP Manila students. As consultative and representative student leaders, we cannot compromise our position unless our principals (the students) tell us to do so.

Already I am receiving apprehensive feedback from bonafide student formations about the unexpected speeches and calls made by CAS SC Chairperson Sheena Trinidad at the end of the forum. She represents only one College; six other Colleges with a combined population bigger than Ms. Trinidad's jurisdiction think otherwise to what she delivered. Please understand our position. In the same way that GAMOT claims to speak for UPM, the University Student Council is the democratically elected voice of the student body. To trivialize its calls would be to ignore the students whom everyone is trying to win over.

The students may not agree to everything GAMOT says, and that is the hard reality for all of us: the challenge for them to be convinced. The USC joined GAMOT specifically for the forum's informational value. If the students still refuse to join calls beyond resignation, they should be respected.

Thank you. For the UP Manila students, I am

Yours truly,

Albert Francis E. Domingo
Chairperson, 27th USC Manila

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Impeachment Shall Serve as Closure

(PRESS Release, USC Manila Office of the Chairperson, AFED-05-041)

Tuesday, the 6th of September will be remembered as how the House of Representatives honored the nation’s demand for the truth and President Arroyo’s challenge for her critics to bring their grievances to Congress. It shall be a day of judgment as to the soundness of constitutional measures which we, the students of the University of the Philippines Manila, have consistently adhered to and upheld.

Everything has been above-board in so far as the system’s form is considered; substance though is another matter. We witnessed how, in motions flimsily draped by an effort to mask maneuvering, impeachment may have been prostituted to vested interests.

Why did the House Justice Committee, in its majority conviction that the evidence brought against the President is weak, not allow the presentation of facts that may have supported either cause for or against the impeachment complaint?

Why did the opposition walk-out when it found itself contradicted? Emotions were high, yes – but even we students know how to restrain ourselves from the parliament of the streets in favor of giving a benefit of the doubt for the assailed processes of our Constitution.

Let not our solons shatter the faith that we still have in our democratic way of life this coming Tuesday.

Our University Student Council sees the current political situation as a manifestation of our rotten political culture, the weakening of credibility of our state institutions and its key players, the desire of individuals and interest groups left and right to hold on or to grab power and the government’s apathy towards the people’s agenda.

There is a need to change the system to one that allows less of the political bickering and deadlocks but more of responsiveness to the basic needs of the people. On the side, this change must be achieved without violence and bloodshed and should be consistent with the rule of law and clearly exponent of the people’s direct mandate. Our 1987 constitution provides sufficient mechanisms for the systemic overhaul we envision.

Nevertheless, unlike the smokescreen made by declaring the start of a great debate for charter change in the President’s recent SONA, we believe that Filipinos are intelligent enough to multitask by exploring avenues to change the system free from political influence, while at the same time finding closure to the current political crisis.

This quandary we are in is not being helped in any way by other simultaneous events: the soaring of global oil prices, the E-VAT sword hanging over our heads, and the persistent threats of higher education and healthcare costs.

Impeachment proceedings shall serve as closure for this turbulent chapter in our nation’s history. And we students of UP Manila shall be ready to write the next.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

On Parañaque City vs. UBFHAI

Gate issue message sent via mail box
First posted 00:26am (Mla time) Sept 01, 2005
By Jocelyn R. Uy
Inquirer News Service

THE PARAÑAQUE City government has sent letters to the more than 10,000 residents of BF Homes to explain the "real story" behind the BF gates controversy.

Mayor Florencio Bernabe said in his letter that residents and business operators in the subdivision alleged the United BF Homeowners Association Inc. (UBFHAI) collected excessive fees and charges from them.

The association reportedly charged non-residents P1,500 for gate stickers, and P800-P1,000 for residents. Residents also claimed they were charged P30-P300 for food or furniture deliveries, Nelson Lacambra, the mayor's spokesperson, told the Inquirer yesterday. Security guards were also abusive and coercive, residents reported.

The mayor said the opening of the main gates was done to ensure "your families' and homes' safety and protection while shielding you from these undeserved forms of harassment and coercion."

The Parañaque City Council passed City Ordinance Nos. 97-08 and 00-15 that reclassified both Aguirre and El Grande Avenues as commercial roads for public use and Resolution No. 99-53 for the opening to the public of subdivision roads linked to major thoroughfares.

The UBFHAI closed Elizalde Avenue, which would also have been opened, in "apparent retaliation."

But UBFHAI president Celson Reyes said the association barred motorists from using Elizalde Avenue for security reasons. As for the fees they collected, he said the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board allowed them to do so as the money was used for maintenance purposes.