Sunday, November 27, 2005

Winnie Monsod on the GASC

GASC, UP Collegian and the media
First posted 01:08am (Mla time) Nov 26, 2005
By Solita Collas-Monsod
Inquirer News Service

BLATANT disregard of the rules. Railroading. Filibustering. Abuse of power. Indecorous behavior. Disruption of parliamentary proceedings. Walkouts.

Sounds like the Philippine legislature? Actually, closer to the Taiwanese legislature, which has grabbed international attention more than once with pictures of its members engaged in free-for-all brawls inside the assembly hall; or the South Korean legislature (although I only read about it once).

But not this time. The description above applies to what happened during the two-day General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) of the University of the Philippines (UP), presided over by the current student regent (SR, the student representative to the UP Board of Regents), a couple of weeks ago. At issue was the proposed amendments to the Codified Rules for Student Regent Selection (CRSRS), which the GASC, composed of all the student councils in the UP System, is tasked to deliberate and decide on, because it is also tasked to select the SR on the basis of the CRSRS.

The three major proposed amendments seem eminently reasonable: requiring that SR candidates must meet the minimum academic standards set in the University Code (during my time, one couldn't even be a member of a student organization if one had a red mark); removing the role of an organization called Kasama sa UP from the selection process (its role is identical to those of the university and college student councils themselves); and widening the voting base for electing the SR (a more direct manner of selection).

Reasonable as these proposals may sound, they have been rejected over and over again, every year since the CRSRS was first approved in 1997. Why? Simple: The Kasama sa UP, which is affiliated with the leftist organization Anakbayan, had controlled the selection of most student regents since 1986, and continued to hold the majority of GASC members since the latter's creation in 1996.

Until this year, that is, when the "nonaligned" (those who didn't want to be controlled by an ideology) student councils gained the majority in the GASC. At last, they thought, the reforms could push through.

But the Kasama had many tricks up its sleeve.

Usually, the GASC meets twice a year -- the first, to set the rules for the selection of the student regent, and the second, to do the actual selection. But the GASC meeting in Cebu in October was taken up just for adopting the house rules; so another meeting had to be set to consider the CRSRS itself. Delay.

The second meeting, the one that ended up making the Taiwanese legislators' antics look like child's play, was set for Nov. 12 and 13. On the first day, almost 10 hours passed before the amendment on good academic standing could be proposed-and the debate was suspended after an hour. The next day, another six hours of debate on the issue took place, even if it had been previously agreed that there would be a two-hour debate limit. Finally, there was a move to divide the house (from Len Punzalan of the School of Economics Student Council). Objections followed -- the debate must be exhausted. So another motion was made: this time to vote on whether it was time to vote on the amendment. The motion was ignored. Other motions along similar lines were continually ignored by the chair, the current student regent, a member of Kasama.

This was where Robert's Rules of Orders came in. Apparently, the rules (on P. 642 of the Newly Revised) contain "Remedies Against Misconduct or Dereliction of Duty in Office," which allows the maker himself-after exhausting all other means to get the chair to act-to stand in the chair's place and put the motion to a vote. Which was what Punzalan did. And where the melee began; the Kasama allies grabbed her mike and her papers; profanities and blows were exchanged. But the roll was successfully called-and the result was that 29 voted in favor, 1 against, 2 abstained, and 13 refused to vote.

At which point the SR unilaterally adjourned the meeting, which is a no-no, as per the rules. Which is when another storm broke out. The body appointed a temporary chair and, despite the dispersal conducted by the UP police, continued the meeting elsewhere, adjourning at 6:30 a.m. the next day-and getting the work done.

The controversy has been fully reported and analyzed in the Philippine Collegian, the UP's official student publication; and if there are dismaying similarities in the behavior of the GASC and the behavior of the Philippine legislature, it must also be said, this time thankfully, that there is no similarity between the Philippine Collegian's coverage of a controversy (at least in this case) and that of some of its supposedly more mature counterparts in the Philippine media. The Collegian news reports were unbiased and not sensationalized; its features section carefully set down the issues and the arguments for and against the proposed amendments; equal space was given to both sides in the opinion section; and letters to the editor were printed on a first come, first served basis, with the announcement that letters not included could be resubmitted, and again treated on the same basis.

Good job, Collegian. May others follow your example. This country can ill afford decisions based on incomplete, one-sided information or assertions presented as hard facts. Given half a chance, Filipinos are capable of making wise decisions.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Malacañang goes to UP

Cabinet Secretary Ricardo Saludo visited the UP Manila campus last 22 November 2005 upon invitation of the University Student Council. He delivered a presentation on the GMA administration's side on current national issues including Gloriagate, the economic status of the country, and many others.

Many thanks to all who participated in the organization of this event held at the UP College of Nursing auditorium! Thanks also to those who attended.

Image hosted by

Thursday, November 24, 2005

When Parliament becomes Pavement

So that the students may have a full grasp of the recent events at the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) held last October 22-23, 2005 at the UP Visayas Cebu College at Cebu City and November 12-14, 2005 at the UP Diliman School of Economics and the Freedom from Debt Coalition Office at Quezon City, this statement has been prepared consistent with USC Manila Resolution No. 0506-007.

Debating versus Filibustering

When the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) resumed session on November 12, 2005, Student Regent Ken Ramos announced to the body the agenda for the meeting. He reiterated a draft agenda he presented back in Cebu that scheduled the debate for amendments to be in the order that they would affect the Codified Rules for Student Regent Selection (CRSRS). He also set time limits on each amendment. Initially some delegates moved to change this agenda, to prioritize some proposals perceived to be more substantial over those that only sought to correct spelling and grammar. This was vehemently opposed, so to facilitate discussion – the motion to change the agenda was withdrawn and the Order of Business as determined by the Student Regent adopted.

Chaos erupted the moment some members who were clearly arguing in circles insisted that debate be extended beyond the time limits originally adopted by the assembly. They were, in effect, moving for an extension of debate beyond the original time limits adopted earlier in the session by the assembly, a motion that requires two-thirds vote similar to one that seeks to limit debate [1]. Furthermore, the delegates who supposedly had new arguments were just filibustering – rehashing their points in different ways. All of them violated the GASC House Rules by speaking more than ten (10) minutes without the consent of the body [2].

Yes, debate is welcomed – but there is a clear distinction between debating and filibustering just to delay the transaction of business. Parliamentary rules are there to protect not only the minority from being gagged by an oppressive majority but also the majority from being unduly delayed by a filibustering minority. This is clear, as in addition to the GASC House Rules restricting members’ speeches to ten minutes, parliamentary rules state that no member of an assembly is entitled to speak on a concern more than twice on the same day [3].

The filibustering members all spoke more than twice on the issues and more than ten minutes each time they rose to speak.

Presiding versus Dictating

On the matter of the UP Diliman School of Economics Student Council (UPDSESC) delegate rising to call the roll on her motion, it was in order: parliamentary rules also have remedies for Presiding Officers who take the law into their own hands and who refuse to follow the rules. This was already explained by the UPDSESC statement when it cited the appropriate parliamentary rule that allowed a proponent him/herself to call for a vote, in case the Chair refuses to him/herself put the properly-made motion to a vote [4]. Even if the Chair, who in that case was the Student Regent, had not relinquished his position as Presiding Officer, his misconduct or dereliction of duty in office allowed for what UPDSESC did. The Presiding Officer went to the extent of ignoring the appeal on his ruling, hence the remedy.

Who can Adjourn

Session was never adjourned, because no majority vote showed consent to the Student Regent-Presiding Officer’s unilateral ruling of adjournment as is required by the House Rules [5]. No other rules or regulations aside from the GASC House Rules and the universal parliamentary rules as written in Robert’s Rules of Order were adopted by the GASC in session, and nowhere in the two may it be found that the Chair can unilaterally adjourn for reasons of security and disorder. He simply had no prerogative, and forced himself upon the will of the assembly.

There was no immediate need to adjourn. The Chair himself is empowered to order unruly observers out of the session hall [6], or if the unruly persons are members of the assembly, to call them to order and reprimand them if needed [7]. These steps, however, were not taken by the Student Regent. In the first place, at the exact moment he declared adjournment, there was no more disorder or chaos to speak of (as audio and video recordings will show). All the delegates cooled off somewhat and were silently seated in their chairs, as were the observers.

The Chair is not a god

Contrary to propaganda that wrongly accuses the majority – 31 out of 51 UP Student Councils from the UP Diliman, Los Baños, Manila, and Mindanao campuses – of disrespecting the Student Regent, efforts were made to uphold his office and to have him preside.

The Student Regent, even upon the insistence of members that he resume presiding, refused to do his job in accordance with the House Rules. The same House Rules allow for the chair (meaning the office or position) to be relinquished to another person [8]. There is no Vice-Student Regent who would have taken his place in such an instance, and the secretariat also abandoned its duty and joined the unruly protest actions on the floor with the Student Regent. In such cases, an assembly can be called to order by any of its members, and immediately the assembly should elect a temporary Chair to preside during that session as provided for in parliamentary procedure [9]. The GASC as an assembly then transferred the venue of the session due to KASAMA sa UP’s incessant rallies that were in fact full of threats and invectives that were disrupting the proceedings.

It is common sense to follow only legal orders made by any superior; illegal orders are to be ignored. No Chairperson can act like a god who rules with absolute power that should be followed even if his/her actions are already violating the rules.

Hence, the Student Regent’s adjournment without majority consent, being illegal, was not binding. Furthermore, his refusal to do his duty of presiding even in the presence of a quorum and the session being not adjourned was also abandonment; hence by his actions the GASC had no choice but to appoint an acting Presiding Officer – there was no “take-over”. Finally, participation in the resumption of session at Teacher’s Village is not illegitimate but instead was the right thing to do as can be demonstrated by the arguments above; any deliberate refusal to attend it meant an abandonment of a student council’s duty to represent its constituent students at the GASC.

Propaganda War

Caution is advised to all students regarding the current propaganda war being waged by several sides to the GASC issue. With the intention of recognizing a UP student’s inherent critical awareness and discernment, students are encouraged to develop a balanced view on the issue by learning how to see beyond the personal attacks and accusations designed only to enrage, but never to enlighten. Being learners in a University environment, this is the perfect opportunity for all of us to stand by reason and logic and not by anger and emotion.

27th UP Manila University Student Council

Note: RONR – Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. ISBN 0-7382-0307-6

1. RONR (10th ed.), p. 185, l. 13-16.
2. GASC House Rules, Section III – Decorum, Rule 25.
3. RONR (10th ed.), p. 376, l. 20-24.
4. RONR (10th ed.), p. 642, l. 11-19.
5. GASC House Rules, Section I – Session, Rule 9.
6. RONR (10th ed.), p. 625, l. 19-26 and p. 628, l. 23-33.
7. RONR (10th ed.), p. 626, l. 20-33.
8. GASC House Rules, Section I – Session, Rule 7.
9. RONR (10th ed.), p. 437, l. 13-20.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Time for a Change

Time for a Change

We, the UPLB-USC 2005-06, as members of the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC), uphold true representative democracy. As protocol of the GASC, and any formal meeting for that matter, Parliamentary Procedure is practiced. This is to enable the body to carry the will of the majority, protect the rights of the minority, and protect the interests of those who are absent. Furthermore, it is implemented to provide structure for a fair, orderly, and expedient proceeding.

Crossing their own lines.
We are dismayed with what transpired during the assembly. Protests through noise barrage were tolerated, decorum was not observed even by some council members, and several violations of the Parliamentary Procedures and House Rules were committed during the session.

The presiding officer himself was one of those who committed such violations. At the latter part of the session, he refused to act on several pending motions. He even resorted to adjourning the session without the consent of the body, thus violating Section 1, Number 9 of the ratified GASC House Rules.

"Section 1 – Session
9. The sessions of the meeting shall not be suspended or adjourned except through majority vote of the student councils present."

This is a clear manifestation of disrespect to the whole assembly! His inability to preside was manifested in his lack of knowledge on parliamentary procedures as he constantly allowed the assembly to educate him on such.

Frustratingly, some student council members added on to the disorder during the GASC by refusing to abide by these universal rules of order and procedure governing the body. We abhor the violations committed by some of the members of the assembly, the observers, and even the secretariat who chose to participate and allow unruly protests while the assembly was still in order.

Some assembly members may claim that the continuation of the GASC at the UP Teacher's Village, Quezon City is illegitimate. We stay firm on our belief that we strongly upheld the Parliamentary Rules of Law, along with the GASC House Rules, in doing so.

Changes for the Empowerment of All.
A Student Regent is a student-leader. Being a student comes first. That is why, upon being selected as the next Student Regent, he/she is highly recommended to take a Leave of Absence. Its purpose is for him to be able to focus on his being a leader—and not spreading himself too thinly. But before being nominated, there must be a concrete standard or criteria to gauge his capacity to lead and manage his time well.

With regard to the amended voting mechanism of the Student Regent Selection, UPLB-USC 05-06 pushed for a more democratic and representative means of voting. We are for the empowerment of all college councils in the whole UP system.

As for the deletion of KASAMA sa UP from the Codified Rules of the Student Regent Selection, we are for a Student Regent Selection process that is free from political ideologies.

Fight for a competent and impartial Student Regent who will listen, represent, and address the needs of all UP students! Assert and fight for a more democratic and well represented Student Regent Selection.

UPLB-University Student Council 2005-2006

Statement from the UPLB CAS Chairperson

It is pure sacrilege.

In an assembly of leaders with the assumption of unbiased ruling, we have to remember two things. First, any assembly with such inclinations should be governed by strict and collegial rules. Strict, meaning no one is above the rules and everyone understands they are governed by such rules. When violations are made against the house rules and the universal rules of order in the parliamentary procedures, the assumption is that the leader should side with the rules and not with just some people, even though the leader himself leans otherwise. Strict, meaning sanctions are clear and everyone understands the consequences of their actions. Strict, meaning such rules can not be bent in accordance to some people, no matter if he/she is the leader of the assembly. Secondly, being collegial is defined as being mutually respectful. It is not defined as being lenient to the governing rules of the body. Because implications of such is disastrous to the assembly. Another definition of collegiality is connected with friendship. Being hostile with rules or with people is the exact antonym of the word.

With these, I, with some members of the College of Arts and Sciences student council present in the assembly, condemn the blatant acts made by the Student Regent, his secretariat team, and some members of student councils present in the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC). First is with regards to the violations of the house rules and universal rules of order. Never in the history of the GASC where rules are violated in such a manner. The assembly was supposed to be governed by the universal rules of parliamentary procedure with their very own drafted house rules, but what happened in the assembly was otherwise. Members of different councils, in the effort to maintain order and avoid further delay, stated the rules over and over again, but to no avail. We want to emphasize that these rules are not meant to suppress ideas, but to actually promulgate them in an orderly and arranged manner. I myself warned the Student regent more than once about the implications of not abiding with these rules. The result of his actions was "so-called" history- those of tears, chaos, occasional fistfights, and a lot of slander and contempt. Next, we would like to manifest our disgust to the unruly acts that followed, more specifically to the mob rule that was participated by the Student regent himself, along with his secretariat present. A leader of his stature should never have made such actions to condemn members of the assembly he was leading himself.

Lastly, I believe at the end of it all, the majority has the right overall. This is with the idea that the minority will be heard, properly respected, and their concerns addressed. With proper headcount, we applaud the acts of the majority of the student councils who continued with the assembly amidst all the oppression set upon by the minority. Everyone can attest to the efforts of the majority to convince the presiding officer what has to be done, in accordance to the house rules and overall rules of assembly. I'm in full support of the actions made by the councils who continued with what is supposed to be done. I believe in the legitimacy of the assembly that continued in Teacher's village, including the resolutions they were able to accomplish. This is not coup de etat, because as far as we are concerned, a coup can only be done with the motive of overthrowing the leadership of whoever is in command. One, it is clear that true leadership in the assembly is not in the presiding officer. Two, there were great efforts to actually make the student regent do his job.

In behalf of the majority of the council present in the assembly, I would like to end with this point:

True consensus is never the absence of opposing sides. But it is reached when the minority chose to give way to the real voice of the assembly: the majority. To silence that voice with the concept of unison in ideas is pure contempt. To abstain that voice with the concept of a united body is nothing more than pure sacrilege.


Council Chairperson

NOTED BY (five out of the seven council members present in the assembly, excluding the chairperson):

Vice- chairperson




College Representative

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Interview with the Philippine Collegian (on GASC)

The Philippine Collegian wrote:
Albert, we would like to get your comment:
SR Ken Ramos has said he does not recognize the amendments made during the GASC meeting at Teachers' Village. In fact, Ramos is going ahead with the selection timetable under the framework of the Old CRSRS.
1. What is your reaction?
I am frustrated at the double standards by which the Student Regent is handling things. On the one hand, he is a staunch advocate of a campaign to oust the Philippine President for alleged transgressions of election law and other impeachable acts; the Hon. Ken Ramos himself, however, has violated several rules in an arena as close to home as the General Assembly of Student Councils.

Regent Ramos has complete disregard for rules and correct procedure. On that fateful day of November 13, 2005 - he had already violated several universal rules of parliamentary procedure but none was more blatant than his support for a tyranny of the minority. He interpreted the rules to his convenience and clearly to those who were politically aligned with him, in utter disrespect to the GASC principle of broad and open participation without consideration for political ideologies. He forcefully made an illegal adjournment of session by wielding his supposed prerogative which is in direct violation of the ratified House Rules: Section I, Rule 9 - "The sessions of the meeting shall not be suspended or adjourned except through majority vote of the student councils present" (emphasis supplied). No matter what his reason was, he clearly had no authority to adjourn by himself and he had to consult the assembly, wherein a clear majority of 24/44 student councils did not agree with him. That, he did not do.

Althroughout the chaos that broke loose right under his nose, Student Regent Ken Ramos did not do anything to placate the angry crowd. He was even seen and witnessed by several delegates and observers to be raising his fist and chanting in unison with the unruly mob that he allowed on the session floor. This was again in direct violation of the ratified House Rules: Section I, Rule 12 - "All sessions shall be open to bonafide UP students who are not part of the GASC as observers, therefore having no power to participate in the proceedings of the assembly, provided that they can present a valid UP identification card and they will observe proper behavior. The presiding officer can limit the number of observers present" (emphasis supplied). Regent Ramos allowed the observers to enter into the session hall and proceed with their bullhorn-led chants and invectives full of insults against the GASC, even to the point of joining the rally himself together with the KASAMA sa UP and OSR Secretariat that was supposed to be politically neutral.

When the GASC saw these blatant violations being committed by the Student Regent, the majority of the body regardless of political party (these student councils were from different campuses and have not even met each other before the GASC) decided to see if there was still a quorum to proceed. Twenty four responded to the roll call at around 6:00 to 6:30 pm. The House Rules say that "A simple majority of fifty percent plus one (50% + 1) of all student councils present shall constitute a quorum for any session to do business. Only when a quorum is in existence can a formal session proceed" (Section I, Rule 2). Originally on Saturday morning, 44 councils registered, making a simple majority for quorum to be 23. Thus, with twenty four physically present and responding to the roll call, a quorum was existent. That did not even count more councils who, by virtue of an authorization letter wanted to participate in the amendment of the CRSRS. The majority urged the Student Regent to continue presiding as it was his job to do so, but he refused to and instead insisted on his illegal adjournment.

Because of the above gross violations committed by the Student Regent (in addition to his refusal to divide the house which was the cause of the pandemonium), the body decided to have a Vote of No Confidence in Regent Ramos as the GASC Presiding Officer and have him replaced, in accordance with the House Rules - Section I, Rule 7: "The Student Regent shall preside in all the sessions, unless the chair is relinquished to another person in accordance with the House Rules." That was when I was given the heavy burden of being the temporary Presiding Officer (and NOT the Student Regent).

There was basis for then transferring the venue: the House Rules provide for it as the majority determined - Section I, Rule 4 which states that "No session of the meeting shall be convened in any place other than that specified in the Program of Activities without the consent of the majority of the student councils present." In consideration of the security threats presented by Regent Ramos and his angry, unruly mob of supporters, session was suspended and transferred to Teacher's Village. The venue was announced to those who were interested in pursuing the session - the majority - as was listed in the roll call made at 6:30 pm. It was never hidden; Regent Ramos and the minority deliberately chose not to participate.

Part of the Order of Business for session that Regent Ramos himself presented is the determination of a timetable for the SR selection process. Towards the end of session on the morning of November 14, 2005, that was discussed by the GASC and the date and venue were set for December 17-18, 2005 at the UPLB Campus in Laguna. That determination being made by the majority in observance of the House Rules makes it the legitimate selection timetable. Furthermore, the old CRSRS is no longer in force because a GASC majority in session amended it and ratified a new one for 2005. The CRSRS of 2004 has no ratification and hence is no longer valid.

2. Should any legal or administrative measure be taken against Ramos?
Surely legal or administrative remedies are in order. We cannot afford to be harsh critics of the Malacañang administration's alleged lapses of judgment if we ourselves do not know how to follow basic rules of procedure. It would be a shame for UP's reputation of being a catalyst for social change to do so with dirty hands. For us to gain the trust and respect of our people, we must be examples of good governance in our own backyard, and we must not tolerate blatant violations of the law.

3. Who do you think has to ultimately rule on which CRSRS should govern?
It is for the students to decide on which CRSRS to govern. On that premise, judgement has already been made because a majority of the student councils who attended the GASC chose to ratify the new CRSRS for 2005. However, the very decision of Regent Ramos to illegally uphold the old and unratified CRSRS is by itself courting administrative intervention, because in the long run the basis for the existence of the Office of the Student Regent is an Executive Order by Malacañang way back in the late nineties. Thus, due to the insistence of Regent Ramos on his own dictated rules in complete disregard of the majority of UP student councils, somewhere down the line someone has to study the issues at hand and thus make a determination on who is following the rules and who is twisting them.

As to who that body shall be - legal minds would be in the best position to answer. Whether it be the Board of Regents (of which Regent Ramos is a member) or a Philippine Court, or some other body tasked by law to correct this injustice - it shall come to adjudication.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Answers to MKule Questions

Here is an emailed questionnaire by the Manila Collegian which I recently replied to. Still in connection with the UP General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) last Nov. 12-14.

Peter John Navarro wrote:
Mr Albert Francisco Domingo, pakisagot po ng mga
questions enumerated here:
[Please correct the spelling of my name. It's Albert Francis Domingo. =) ]
Ano po ang masasabi niyo na "caucus" lang ang naganap
na assembly sa Teacher's Village, ayon na rin kay SR
Ako po'y nalulungkot sapagkat may sariling interpretasyon ang ating student regent sa house rules na rinatify sa Cebu pa noong Oct. 22-23, 2005. Ayon sa Section I, Rule 2: "A simple majority of fifty percent plus one (50% + 1) of all student councils present shall constitute a quorum for any session to do business. Only when a quorum is in existence can a formal session proceed." Noong nag-resume ang session ng GASC nung umaga ng Sabado, 44 councils ang nagrehistro. Noong nag-roll call muli ng bandang alas-6 o 6:30 ng gabi, 24 ang nagresponde at sumang-ayon na hindi pa tapos o kaya'y na-adjourn ang GASC. Ang simple majority ng 44 ay 23, kaya't sa bilang na 24 na sumagot sa roll call ay quorum pa rin. Bagama't ito'y ipinarating kay SR Ken, ito'y hindi niya pinakinggan. Inanyayahan siya na ituloy ang proceedings, at iyon ay kanyang tinanggihan.

May basehan rin ang paglipat ng proceedings mula sa UPD School of Economics patungo sa Teacher's Village. Malinaw na masusunod ang kagustuhan ng mayorya: GASC House Rules Section I, Rule 4 - "No session of the meeting shall be convened in any place other than that specified in the Program of Activities without the consent of the majority of the student councils present." Mayorya mismo ang humingi na ilipat sa ibang lugar ang session dahilan sa pagbubuyo, pangugulo, at pag-iingay ng isang mob.

Ang pagpayag sa pagpasok ng magulong mob sa mismong loob ng session hall kung nasaan nakalugar ang mga delegado ay isa pang paglabag sa House Rules na hinayaan at umano'y tinulungan pa ng student regent. (GASC House Rules Section I, Rule 12 - "All sessions shall be open to bonafide UP students who are not part of the GASC as observers, therefore having no power to participate in the proceedings of the assembly, provided that they can present a valid UP identification card and they will observe proper behavior. The presiding officer can limit the number of observers present." Emphasis supplied.)

Hindi rin daw recognized ang mga amendments na
na-adopt niyo in that session at hindi ito masusunod
sa SR seletion sa December.
Iyan po ay posisyon na hindi kinikilala ng mayorya ng GASC. Nakalulungkot po uli na ayaw pakinggan ng student regent ang boses ng nakararaming mga student council sa UP system; bagkus ay sinusunod niya ang minorya kahit ba mali-mali na ang kanyang pagbasa sa rules. Ibang klase at maling konsepto ng demokrasya ang kanyang pinapanigan - yung tipong walang pakialam sa pasya at kabutihan ng nakararami.

What time did the session in TEacher's Village started
and what time ended? Sino-sino rin ba ang mga student
councils na naroon?

Sino po ang nagpreside sa session na iyon?
Nagresume ang GASC session sa Teacher's Village eksakto 12:00 am ng Nobyembre 14, 2005. Natapos ito bandang 6:30 am ng araw rin na yun. Naroon ang (ang eksaktong attendance ay inilista ng isang temporary secretariat, ito ang nasa listahang-kamay ko): UP Diliman - USC, NCPAG, AIT, ENG'G, CS, CHK, MUSIC, ECON, STAT, CSSP, ILIS, BA; UP Manila - USC, MSC, NSC, CPHSC; UP Los Baños - USC, CDC, CAS, CEM, AGRI; UP Mindanao - USC, CSM, CHSS. Sa botohan ay mas marami sa 24 ang narehistrong boto sapagkat pinapayagan ng GASC House Rules ang proxy voting (Section V, Rule 38 - In the event of a member council's inability to attend, a designated representative may vote on its behalf provided that the said representative bears the appropriate authorization letter.). Kung isasama ang mga council na nakilahok sa pamamagitan ng authorization letter, nasa 31 ang bilang ng mga konsehong sumama sa resumption ng GASC sa Teacher's Village.

Noong nasa UPD School of Economics Auditorium pa lang, habang binubuyo't ginugulo ng isang mob sa loob mismo ng kwarto, minarapat ng GASC na ideklarang bakante ang posisyon ng Presiding Officer (hindi ang Opisina ng Student Regent) dahilan sa kanyang pag-iwan sa kanyang trabaho. (Inanyayahan si SR Ken na ituloy ang proceedings ngunit tumanggi siya.) Inihalal ako ng GASC bilang temporary Presiding Officer ayon na rin sa mga regulasyon ng parliamentary procedures at sa GASC House Rules (Section I, Rule 7 - "The Student Regent shall preside in all the sessions, unless the chair is relinquished to another person in accordance with the House Rules").
The OSR has already released a schedule for the next
SR selection and according to the memorandum of Ramos,
the GASC shall reconvene on December 20-21 as opposed
to the sked your group had set. Please comment on
Nasa agenda ng GASC simula pa lang sa Cebu (na siyang agenda na kinilala rin ni SR Ken) ang "Timetable for the Student Regent Selection process." Pagkatapos pag-usapan ang mga amendments, pinag-usapan na rin ng GASC noong umaga ng Nobyembre 14, 2005 ang lugar at oras na pagdadausan ng SR selection, at ang napag-usapan ay sa UPLB Campus (specific venue TBA) sa Disyembre 17-18, 2005. Dahilan sa na rin sa mayorya at quorum ng mga UP student councils (at hindi "grupo ko") ang tumuloy ng session sa Teacher's Village at nagkaisa sa UPLB 12/17-12/18, iyan po ang tama at lehitimong proseso.
Sinabi ni SR Ramos na valid ang pagdeclare niya ng
adjourment of session nuong nov13 dahil may
prerogative at capacity siya to do so when abnormal
circumstances arise,at ang political tension at chaos
na nangyari nuong sunday ay isang halimbawa ng isang
extraordinary circumstance. Please comment.
Wala po kahit saan man - sa Parliamentary Procedure man o sa GASC House Rules na siyang dalawang basehan ng pagpapatakbo ng GASC - ang posisyon ni SR Ken na meroon siyang prerogative at capacity na mag-adjourn, anuman ang dahilan niya, nang walang pahintulot ng asamblea. Sa katunayan, linabag niya ang GASC House Rules sa ginawa niyang iyon sapagkat may tumutol sa umano'y adjournment niya at hindi niya inilagay sa botohan ang pagtutol na iyon. (GASC House Rules Section I, Rule 9 - "The sessions of the meeting shall not be suspended or adjourned except through majority vote of the student councils present.") Napakalinaw rin na ang pulong o asamblea lamang ang maaaring magpasara o mag-adjourn ng session, ayon na rin sa GASC House Rules (Section I, Rule 8 - "The Student Regent shall open a session by calling the house to order. When directed by the House, he shall close a session with the phrase 'the meeting is adjourned' or 'ang pulong ay itinitigil'." Emphasis supplied.) Walang pahintulot ng mayorya ng asamblea ang umano'y pag-adjourn na ginawa ng student regent.

Nakakalungkot na ang inaasahang modelong kabataan para sa paglaban sa bulok na pulitika na ating nasasaksihan sa mas malaking lipunan ay siya mismong lantarang lumalabag sa mga batas na itinakda para sa kabutihan ng lahat.
hope to receive your reply asap.urgent issue lang po.
thank you very much

On the recently-concluded GASC

by Trisha - UP Diliman College of Science Student Council

The College of Science stands for, among other things, ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE. Therefore, it is only fitting that CSSC supports the CSSP-SC's bid to include good academic standing, the MINIMUM requirement and responsibility that the Filipino taxpayers entrusted to us as students when we entered the University, in the qualifications of a Student Regent candidate.

As so eloquently stated by G Ricasata of the CSSP-SC:
"Gusto ko ng isang Student Regent na nag-aaral AT naglilingkod; hindi lang nag-aaral o hindi lang naglilingkod."

(Something to that effect.)

Regarding the manner in which the GASC was carried out, in particular the controversial matter of voting - I, as a delegate to the GASC, voted to carry out a vote. I believe that no one in that body - not the Presiding Officer, not ANY SINGLE ONE present - could have said that "the body is not yet ready for a vote". The only way to check if the body is, in fact, ready to vote is by ASKING the members of that body. Let those that are ready to vote say "Aye" while those that feel that they need to hear or say more say "Nay". It is that simple. And yet, the vote was suppressed.

Parliamentary Procedures 101

by Chris Lao, Vice Chairperson - UP Diliman University Student Council

Rules of parliamentary law are based on underlying principles such that at the end of the day, deliberative assemblies such as the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) conduct business and make decisions according to the will of the majority but with due regard for the rights of the minority, of individual members, of absentees and all these components combined. It is the best method yet devised to enable assemblies to arrive at the general will on a maximum number of questions of varying complexity in a minimum amount of time and under all sorts of internal conditions ranging from complete harmony to impassioned division of opinion. It is the best method that balances the right of every member to speak and the right of the assembly not to be unduly delayed. More simply, since these rules of order were carefully framed to ensure always the will of majority, any action without recourse to these would be a blatant disrespect to the assembly and a subversion of its will - the real deal behind the GASC fiasco from its opening session on Oct. 22 to its resumption on Nov. 13.

Given this, how on earth can some others actually say that such rules suppress the members' right to speak and that such rules do not expedite the process and hence we drop the procedures? Given that the parliamentary procedures had no way to go but to the will of the majority, it makes sense why the minority, who apparently would do anything to keep the SR selection mechanism to its favor, hold such contempt for correct procedures that will not tolerate their delaying tactics and instead favor the will of the assembly. However, it makes no sense at all why UP students (student leaders at that!) who claim to abhor the Congress we see and hear everyday of our lives doing misdemeanors left and right, are willing to be its prototype betraying the utter lack of delicadeza and moral degeneracy just so it could get what it wants even if it means subverting the rules and
suppressing the will of the assembly.

As such, although much time was spent on lecturing the presiding officer on parliamentary procedures, the bulk of it was actually spent on making him and some others follow them. Given such refusal to follow the rules, a member of the minority said to the USC Manila Chairperson "You shouldn't lecture the presiding officer," to which the reply of the USC Manila Chairperson was apt in that he said "I yield to that. I shouldn't lecture the presiding officer because he is expected to know this." The label "Mr. Chair" turned out to be a misnomer of cosmic proportions when we had to lecture him from proper handling of motions, obtaining and assigning the floor, rules governing debate and debatability of motions and even to the simple rules surrounding adjournment.

To begin the decision-making process, members offer proposals by making motions which will be decided by the body. Because they are to be decided by the body, the refusal to let the process move is disrespecting the councils who are to make the decision. The failure to act on such motions that are supposed to be put before the assembly for decision is a subversion of the decision-makers' voice. There was a myriad of instances when the councils were not allowed and entrusted of such decisions. First, I made a motion to make changes in the draft agenda that requires a majority vote which is a right recognized by the parliamentary authority. Six hours have passed yet the councils weren't allowed to decide for themselves whether they agree to my motion to prioritize resolutions such as the amendment to the voting mechanism as these directly affect the December SR selection process. Second, the motion by the CSSPSC Chairperson to lay on the table Aricle 2 section 2, which is an undebatable motion that requires majority vote, was never given back to the councils to decide whether they want it laid down or not.

Third, when CSSPSC withdrew the motion to lay on the table, several motions duly seconded were made to divide the house - again to give it back to the assembly to decide because clearly the trend has been to delay in the guise that things have not been exhausted since the first GASC session in UP Cebu until its extension here in UP Diliman. But as usual, these motions weren't given back to the councils to decide. They say that it is because objections are still being raised. Since the time limit has been breached and we know that we can not be in GASC for the rest of our lives, I said that if they want to debate still, they should raise a motion to extend debate the decision of which whether to extend or not would come from the councils themselves. If the councils think they haven't heard enough, they'd vote in favor of the motion to extend debate. If the will of the assembly is that it has heard enough and it is time to vote, why not let them decide?

Again, it was echoed, "Is there any motion to extend debate?" and we heard none so it was time to hear to will of the assembly. The motion has been made and has been duly seconded. Instead of acting on the motion, what did the presiding officer do? After rejecting wave after wave of motions, he again committed misconduct by not acting on the pending question which prompted the SESC Chairperson to invoke the parliamentary authority that
safeguards the assembly by having the section "Remedies Against Misconduct or Dereliction of Duty in Office", allowing her to make the roll call herself standing in her place after the presiding officer ignored the motion duly seconded and neither stated the question nor listened to the Point of Order raised by the maker of the motion continually ignoring the motion to divide the house duly seconded.

Lastly, the will of the assembly was prevented from being heard as to whether or not it wishes to adjourn given the pending amendments. The presiding officer never put it to a vote as written in the house rules and parliamentary authority and instead decided for himself. This led to the minority following the breach of house rules by the presiding officer and considered the assembly adjourned while the majority stuck with the rules and carried on with the amendments with a new presiding officer in replacement of the censured one on the grounds of dereliction of duty and breach of house and universal rules of parliament.

My message to those who threatened and continue to threaten the democracy and impartiality of the GASC is this: Much of our problems today are brought about by simply not following the rules. People evade taxes, commit culpable violations of our Constitution, engage in illegal activities, suppress the truth through grave abuse of power, and many more. This is being complained about everyday yet here lies the disrespect given to the student councils duly elected by subverting the will of the majority by refusing to follow rules and putting words on their mouths. And as if this was not enough, distortion of truth is being sowed through preemptive statements.

Henry M. Robert of Robert's Rules of Order said, "In a land perhaps most persons are members of one or more societies, some knowledge of parliamentary [procedure] may be justly regarded as a necessary part of education of every man and woman..." Isn't it funny that the same student leaders who do not want a minimum academic requirement and tolerate delinquent student regent nominees are the ones who disregarded the rules? Let us remember that we are students first and foremost.

I echo the call of the UP School of Economics Student Council to the UP students. Your right to be heard is being threatened! Fight for democracy and impartiality within the GASC! Fight for the LEGITIMATE and DEMOCRATIC selection of the next student regent!

Official Statement of the BUKLOD-UPLB on the GASC

BUKLOD-UPLB expresses elation at the passage of key amendments to the Codified Rules on Student Regent Selection which will ensure a more democratic and meritorious Student Regent selection.

We welcome the granting of individual votes to each student council in the selection of the Student Regent. We also welcome the inclusion of a minimum academic requirement in the criteria for Student Regent nominees, as well as the non-inclusion of the KASAMA sa UP in the
selection process. The passage of these amendments will help to ensure a more democratic and meritorious Student Regent selection.

However, in spite of these landmark amendments, BUKLOD-UPLB expresses intense dismay at the conduct of certain individuals, including the incumbent Student Regent himself at the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC).

We condemn in the strongest terms possible the violations of parliamentary procedure and the ratified House Rules which led to a chaotic and disorderly GASC. We take specific exception to the inaction of the Student Regent in sanctioning some observers who were actually holding demonstrations while the session was ongoing and even had the audacity to demonstrate on the plenary floor; a direct violation of the house rule barring any observers from being on the
floor while the session is ongoing.

We take further exception to the repeated non-issuance of rulings by the Student Regent when the occasion called for such. As a result, the sessions were unnecessarily prolonged, thus wasting the financial resources and time of the delegates.

The most flagrant violation of all was committed by the Student Regent himself when he violated Section I of the House Rules which state that no session may be adjourned without the consent of the majority. Despite persuasions by the majority of the delegates to continue the
session, the Student Regent ignored their pleas and adjourned illegally and illegitimately, thus prompting the majority to conclude the GASC under a temporarily appointed presiding officer consistent with parliamentary procedure.

BUKLOD is one with other student councils and political formations in the advocacy for reforms in the selection of the Student Regent. The selection process must be democratic and absolutely free of any involvement of any political formation. The process must, however, not undermine the essence of student leadership: balance between one's academic obligations and serving one's constituents. No amount of mockery, insult, or childish name-calling shall deter us from
advancing this advocacy.



(KAISA statement on 2005 CRSRS)

At long last, broken are the chains of tyranny and deceit.

Tyranny is a foul evil, but tyranny masquerading as freedom is far worse. The Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP (KASAMA sa UP) was an alliance of student councils established to advance reform through representation and democratic participation of UP students. It succeeded in this through the creation of the Office of the Student Regent, the sole student representative in the highest policy making body of the UP System, the Board of Regents. Its history is rich with examples of noble sacrifice to realize the lofty ideal of democratic participation through free discourse and involvement.

Alas, it was this same ideal that KASAMA sa UP would eventually betray, in its corrupt and degenerate state as the captive of a political bloc. As the tyrant that it became, it seized control of the Office of the Student Regent, by manipulating the selection process, and entrenching itself in the Codified Rules for Student Regent Selection (CRSRS). Firmly established in the system, it imposed its own political ideology on student councils, to perpetuate itself and crush all opposition. It prevailed despite several attempts to reform the process and the CRSRS. KASAMA sa UP remained unchallenged, until recently, when it found itself in the minority of the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC).

Yet again, sweeping reforms of the selection process and the CRSRS challenged KASAMA sa UP, but unlike in earlier years, it was at a significant disadvantage, being the minority. Three key proposals threatened its tyrannical hold: addition of a minimum academic requirement for SR nominees; the removal of KASAMA sa UP from the CRSRS; and a new voting mechanism to allot one vote per student council. Thus, it was predictable for KASAMA sa UP to behave as it did.

Through SR Ken Leonard Ramos, KASAMA sa UP sought to undermine and sabotage the proceedings to amend the CRSRS. With Ramos' failure and refusal to preside over the proceedings properly and KASAMA sa UP members' filibustering and other delaying tactics, it took two days to adopt and ratify House Rules in UP Cebu. The GASC was then resumed in UP Diliman to tackle the proposals. Here Ramos consistently prevented the adoption of the key proposals, by not allowing the division of the house. Consequently, the majority was not able to vote. The GASC spent almost two days without acting on any major amendments. The intense clamor of the majority to be heard and allowed to vote, and the attempts of the minority to prevent it led to the breakdown of the proceedings. Ramos, in clear violation of parliamentary procedure and the House Rules, unilaterally adjourned the session, while KASAMA sa UP members barged in the session floor to stage a rally, in blatant mockery of the GASC. All delegates and observers were then dismissed.

Undaunted by their seeming failure to accomplish anything, the student councils forming the majority of the GASC nevertheless resumed the proceedings by appointing an acting presiding officer and moving to Teachers' Village. Since they formed a quorum as required by the House Rules, the GASC resumed the deliberations on the pending proposals, and adopted the three key proposed amendments as the 2005 CRSRS.

In light of the foregoing, KAISA - Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayan expresses its full and unwavering support for the 2005 CRSRS as amended and ratified by the GASC.

We strongly uphold the legitimacy of the amended 2005 CRSRS. The GASC then convened at Teacher's Village consisted of a quorum as defined by their House Rules. The acting presiding officer of the proceedings was duly elected by this quorum. Therefore, the actions of the assembly are in all counts official and legitimate, as their House Rules, established parliamentary procedure, and the minutes of the proceeding will show.

We are appalled at the inability and incompetence of SR Ramos, who failed miserably to preside over the GASC. Were it not for his stubborn reluctance – or refusal – to allow the GASC to vote on the proposals, the CRSRS would have been amended more speedily. Furthermore, we condemn the utter disrespect of parliamentary procedure and decorum shown by KASAMA sa UP members, some of whom include members of the UP Diliman University Student Councils. We expected more from our elected leaders. We were bitterly disappointed.

We fully support the progressive and democratic reforms enshrined in the 2005 CRSRS. We believe that these reforms will advance genuine student representation and democratic participation through the Office of the Student Regent. Significantly, the removal of a political alliance with vested interests from the selection process will open avenues that will allow maximum participation from student councils and their constituents.

We reaffirm our committment to the lofty ideal of democratic participation through free discourse and involvement. We firmly believe and seek to realize the principles of the original KASAMA sa UP. We understand that its noble history is a history of victories for the Filipino youth, which we aspire to emulate. The chains of tyranny that once bound us may be broken, but our struggle continues.

Uphold the reforms enshrined in the 2005 CRSRS!
Safeguard the victories of the Filipino youth!
Continue the struggle for democratic participation and genuine student leadership!

The Triumph of Reason

The recently-concluded General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) in our campus last weekend saw the triumph of reason against dogmatic belief. For the first time in history, we saw real reforms being instituted in the Codified Rules for the Student Regent Selection (CRSRS). This is a moment of triumph for the students of the University of the Philippines, as this makes the Student Regent (SR) selection process a step closer to being truly democratic and representative.

We have succeeded in making an SR candidate satisfy the minimum academic requirements of the University. This requirement is not repressive, because this same requisite determines our status as a student. This requirement merely reiterates our responsibility to the Filipino people, to repay their sacrifice by pursuing academic excellence and social justice, without prejudice to one or the other.

We have succeeded in removing the direct reference to a network of partisans in the CRSRS. Although we recognize the historical role of KASAMA sa UP in helping reestablish the Office of Student Regent (OSR), the CRSRS as enshrined in its statement of principles should not be biased in favor of one political affiliation and orientation. The removal of such direct reference represents our commitment to a truly broad and open participation of students regardless of political persuasion.

We have succeeded in giving our local college councils a voice in the selection process of the Student Regent. Empowering our local college councils does not, in any way, make the process of selecting a Student Regent divisive. In fact, it opens the door for greater consensus, as more leaders get to scrutinize the SRs-to-be, and discuss their merits in an atmosphere of respect.

No amount of nay saying and rancor generated by other groups could hide these facts. As we urge our fellow students to remain vigilant and protect our gains, we congratulate our progressive student councils and student leaders for their courageous stand to fight for reform, and see reason triumph in the GASC.

Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (ALYANSA)

Licensed to Lead

One question posed during the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) in the deliberations of our proposed amendment regarding academic qualifications was:

If we are to choose between a student who has excellent leadership qualities and a student who fulfils his academic requirement, whom would we choose?

The College of Social Sciences and Philosophy Student Council maintains with the highest conviction that our Student Regent must possess both of the aforementioned qualities. In fact, what we see is the logical fallacy of false dilemma--a dichotomy should not have been pondered in the first place. A student leader, specifically our Student Regent must demonstrate competence in both leadership AND academics as he is both a student and a leader, therefore, a separation of the two functions must not be made. The duality of the ontological sense of the function must always be realized and should not falter. The need for the recognition of the fact is strengthened further given the context that we are in the primary academic institution of the country.

Clearly, this sense of genuine representation was undermined by muddling the issue of subjectivity and administrative intervention. We maintain that it is the students who determine their own grades through their performance. Furthermore, if the "student leader" can't fight for his or her own grades, how will he or she lead the studentry in pursuit of the sector's rights and welfare? The proposal is also safeguarded from intervention by making the semester prior to the nomination the basis for academic standing. Since the selection would take place in the second semester, how could there be administrative intervention considering that the basis for good academic standing will be from the first semester while it is yet to be demanded in the proceeding semester?

The recent GASC was a manifestation of how reform could triumph even with the most spirited attempt to hijack it. Councils united have culminated the years of struggle to introduce reforms into the Student Regent selection process. Finally, we could have a selection process that is truly democratic and representative.

We could only wonder aloud.

What is wrong with requiring our Student Regent to maintain the MINIMUM academic requirement? What is wrong in empowering local college councils in selecting a Student Regent? What is wrong in opening the Student Regent selection process to all, by removing a partisan network of ideologues?

This is the essence of reforming the Student Regent selection process, nothing more and nothing less. Trying to hijack reform is a disservice to students. No amount of feigned good intentions can ever mask it. No amount of bitter rhetoric can ever discredit our gains. No amount of name-calling can ever distract our efforts to make a Student Regent, OUR Student Regent, truly representative of our interests.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On the GASC: A Warning to All UP Students

There is a crisis in the leadership of the UP student body. Certain student councils have sought to disrupt the amendments of the Codified Rules for Student Regent Selection. By doing so, they are condoning the rights and welfares of their own constituents. By doing so, they are threatening the integrity, legitimacy, and indeed, the very existence of the Office of the Student Regent.

During the November 13 session of the General Assembly of Student Councils, these student councils refused to abide by basic parliamentary procedures in order to conceal the will of the assembly. By repeatedly objecting to the calling of a vote, they effectively prolonged what should have been a simple parliamentary procedure.

Instead of enforcing the parliamentary rules and the complementary house rules, the Presiding Officer aided their violations on several counts. First, he failed to act on a motion put forth several times by the School of Economics Student Council. As such, he gave the SESC Chairperson no choice but to recognize the dereliction of the presiding officer's duty and to call a vote herself, in accordance with parliamentary procedures. [1]

Second, the Presiding Officer tried to adjourn the GASC before the agenda was completed. This act has several serious ramifications. To start with, the Student Regent as presiding officer of the GASC does not have the authority to adjourn the assembly without the consent of the body. [2] Next, and more importantly, the Presiding Officer, by seeking to end the assembly before the agenda was completed, attempted to disenfranchise the student councils whose amendments had not yet been discussed.

In a final insult to the assembly of student councils, the Presiding Officer sanctioned the disruption of the proceedings by allowing observers from the gallery to trespass into the assembly floor and conduct a rally. Such a tolerance of intrusion was a clear violation of the house rules ratified by the GASC on October 23 in UP Cebu. [3]

In the spirit of the GASC and as provided for by parliamentary rules, consensus-building takes superiority over division of the house. Yet, from the conduct of the first GASC session in UP Cebu until its extension in UP Diliman, it was clear that for several motions, reaching a consensus was virtually impossible. In such a scenario, parliamentary procedure has a simple and logical solution: the division of the house. Calling a vote allows the will of the majority to be respected without prejudice to the minority. By preventing this eventuality to occur, the will of the majority was subverted and democracy was undermined within the GASC.

Presently, there are allegations that certain student councils, including our own, have disrespected the Presiding Officer. We beg to differ. We maintain full respect for our Student Regent. It is, in fact, those student councils and delegates who refused to adhere to simple parliamentary procedures and house rules that disrespected not only the Presiding Officer, not only the Student Regent, but the General Assembly of Student Councils in its entirety.

A warning to all UP students:
Your right to be heard is being threatened!
Fight for democracy and impartiality within the GASC!
Fight for the LEGITIMATE and DEMOCRATIC selection of the next student regent!

UP School of Economics Student Council 05-06

[1] Remedies Against Misconduct or Dereliction of Duty in Office. Robert III, H (2000) Robert's Rules of Order (Newly Revised) p 642.
"If the chair at the meeting ignores a motion apparently made and seconded in good faith, and neither states the question on the motions nor rules it our of order, the maker of the motion should raise a Point of Order covering the case, and from the chair's decision he can Appeal. If the Chair also ignores the point of order, the member can repeat the motion; and if it is seconded and the chair still ignores it, the maker of the motion can himself put it to a vote standing in his place. If the regular presiding officer of an organized society culpably fails to perform the duties of the chair properly in a meeting, a motion can also be made to censure him which could be put to a vote by the maker of the motion as just explained, if necessary."
[2] Ratified House Rules November 12-13, 2005. Section I-Session.
"The sessions of the meeting shall not be suspended or adjourned except through majority vote of the student councils present."
[3] Ratified House Rules November 12-13, 2005. Section I-Session.
"All sessions shall be open to bonafide UP students who are not part of the GASC as observers, therefore having no power to participate in the proceedings of the assembly, provided that they can present a valid UP identification card and they will observe proper behavior. The presiding officer can limit the number of observers present."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

GASC successfully amends CRSRS

After almost five days in session, in three different venues, the General Assembly of Student Councils (GASC) was successfully concluded yesterday morning with progressive and democratic reforms in the Codified Rules for the Student Regent Selection (CRSRS).

The GASC convenes on two occasions. First is to amend the CRSRS, and second is the actual selection of Student Regent nominee to be forwarded to the Board of Regents. The first assembly scheduled on October 22-23 in UP Visayas-Cebu failed to discuss the proposed amendments due to the long debates spent on the house rules and intense scrutiny of authorization letters of official delegates. The body was, however, able ratify the House Rules to complement the Rules of Parliamentary Procedure which would govern the discussion of the proposed amendments ensuring structure and order in the assembly.

And so the session resumed on November 12, 2005 at the UP Diliman–School of Economics. Much to the dismay of many councils who had to spend twice for transportation fares in just three weeks, a great amount of time in the continuation of the session was spent on circling debates primarily due to the inability of the presiding officer to facilitate the meeting. For his culpable failure to properly perform his duties in the assembly, culminating on the improper ruling of adjournment of session, objected to by members of the body, and without the necessary approval of 50% + 1 of the assembly as required by the House Rules, the position for presiding chair was declared vacant resulting to the election of a temporary officer who was to preside over the assembly for the rest of the session. Several councils on this occasion refused to participate but the body, being on a quorum, proceeded with the session. Due to logistical constraints and political tension of continuing the session at the School of Economics Auditorium, it was moved that the assembly be continued in Teacher's Village where the body was able to act on all the submitted proposals.

In brief, the GASC was able to amend the CRSRS by including good academic standing as a requirement for nominees for Student Regent; deletion of KASAMA sa UP, a political formation, and its functions from the CRSRS; and the changing of the mechanism allowing college and university councils one vote each in the selection of the Student Regent.

Given the approved amendments in the CRSRS, the students can be rest assured the selection of the next Student Regent will be based on a genuine and democratic student representation. The next GASC is scheduled on December 17-18 of this year.

15 November 2005