UP CEBU COLLEGE STUDENTS MANIFESTO FOR
THE CONFIRMATION OF CHARISSE BAÑEZ
AS UP STUDENT REGENT
Born out of many struggles dating back to the Martial Law period, the Office of Student Regent is a consistent and stable bastion and a unifying center of student resistance against interests that undermine the students’ basic rights. Historically, the office has spearheaded the fight for greater state subsidy by initiating lobbying efforts in Congress and student actions. It has also stood up against discrimination on the basis of class, gender, race and religion. For this is the mandate of the OSR- to safeguard the interests of the students at all times.
It is, thus, not surprising that the OSR has been persistently subjected to many attacks and interferences by the administration.
Meanwhile, for almost two months since the new chapter of UP was brought to life, the UP-BOR Student Regent has not yet performed her duties as mandated of her to do because the BOR will not confirm her as SR. This is a manifestation of curtailing our democratic right to representation in the BOR.
Months have passed and many student issues and policies that needs immediate response and action. The issue on the non-confirmation of the new student regent is a manoeuvre of the administration to overwhelm us with anti-student policies and issues and divide our ranks.
It is for this reason that we fight to have representation in the BOR, the highest policy and decision-making body in the University since it is also one of our democratic rights set under our democratic country. Moreover, in our pursuit of our representation in the BOR, we declare as follows:
1. Ms. Charisse Bernadine L. Bañez, former USC Chair of UP Los Banos, was nominated, ran, unanimously elected and was proclaimed as the Student Regent-Elect at the end of the selection process at UPV (Iloilo) on 14 April 2009.
2. The selection of Ms. Bañez is with due respect to the Codified Rules for Student Regent Selection (CRSRS) being approved overwhelmingly, as 72.15 percent of all students of all constituent universities of the University of the Philippines system voted for the ratification of such during the referendum conducted on 26 – 31 January 2009, in accordance with Section 12 (1) (g) of Republic Act No. 9500 or The University of The Philippines Charter of 2008.
1. The Board of Regents does not confirm Ms. Bañez as UP Student Regent unless she settles all her pending cases as recommended by Atty. Theodore O. Te, UP Vice-President for Legal Affairs to the BOR.
2. Ms. Bañez, on April 17, 2009, was found guilty for the case of “misconduct” filed by the College Secretaries, whom she has offended by calling them “ladies and gentlemen” in a meeting ruled by parliamentary proceedings.
1. Ms. Bañez is carrying our mandate to fulfill her obligations as our student representative in the UP-BOR.
2. Under the CRSRS that was approved after almost a tiring week via referendum (i.e., all students from all UP campuses will cast their votes), Ms. Bañez does have all of the qualifications and do not have any of the disqualifications stated in the said code.
3. Ms. Bañez was elected 18 days prior to the effectivity of the Student Disciplinary Tribunal’s decision over her case or even just two days before the SDT found her guilty of “misconduct”. This means that Ms. Bañez’ case should not impede her from assuming into office considering that Ms. Bañez was elected days before she was found guilty.
Student organizations are independent organizations so with their legal documents. As for us, the students, our CRSRS should be kept off-limits from any manipulation of the Administration. Thus, with the referendum result, the Administration has no choice but to accept and let all of the conditions set under the said code in choosing our Student Regent be fully observed. A propos to this, the BOR has no choice but to fulfill its duty in confirming Ms. Bañez as our Student Regent.
Bearing in mind that,
RA 9500 or “University of the Philippines Charter of 2008” mandates us, the students, NOT the Board of Regents nor the UP Admin, to select our representative for the UP-BOR. The only duty that the UP-BOR is bound to is to confirm the Student Regent.
Not confirming Ms. Bañez as SR even before she was found guilty is already a penalty. This is a clear violation of Section 14.2 of the Bill of Rights of our 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that “…the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved”.
On the other hand, not confirming Ms. Bañez is bypassing our mandate through the CRSRS that gives us the right to select our SR. However, the BOR claims that they have the right to approve or not to approve the SR’s we elect. This will defeat the purpose of drafting and approving, via referendum, the CRSRS.
Thus, believing that,
The “misconduct” case of Ms. Bañez and the decision of the BOR not to confirm her until she has settled all of her cases are images of student repression in the UP System.
Due to Ms. Bañez case, associated by other student organization cases in the whole UP System (e.g. the proposed UP Diliman 2009 Code of Student Conduct, which was crafted without any student representative, makes it difficult for student organizations to be “recognized” and in the process denies student organizations the right to hold activities and the use of University facilities and be allocated tambayans; in UP Visayas Tacloban College, the Student Council is unconfirmed up to now because of the administration’s insistence of requirements not stipulated in the Student Council’s constitution; and in UP Los Baños, the students had to contend with the months-long delay in the elections last year. Now, their administration did not collect the P45.50 student fund intended for the University Student Council and publication, Perspective, during enrolment; etc.), the real intention of the Roman Administration is to harass our rights of organizing and governing ourselves in order to eliminate or minimize our oppositions against its commercialized education policy.
The long delay of having a representation to the UP-BOR will bring more student repressions in the UP System for the reason that we do not have a Student Regent who will voice out our grievances, who will serve as a watchdog in the UP Administration particularly in the UP-BOR, and who will defend our students’ rights.
THEREFORE, WE RESOLVE TO:
DEMAND YOU, our very dear and respected Regents to RESPECT the CRSRS by CONFIRMING, now, Ms. Charisse Bernadine L. Bañez as our Student Regent in your Body such that: our democratic right to representation will be observed, our interests and rights will be safeguarded, no Human Rights are abridged, and for the benefit of your Body, confirming Ms. Bañez will no longer bring speculations against your Body like your trying to prevent us from opposing the incumbent UP Administrations’ anti-student policies and plans.
Approved and adopted this 25th of June 2009 at University of the Philippines in the Visayas-Cebu College, Lahug, Cebu City, Cebu by the students who affixed their signatures below.
LOOK FOR ANY NKE’s IF NO ONE HAS APPROACHED YOU REGARDING THIS MATTER.
PROTECT YOUR STUDENT’S RIGHTS! YOUR CLASSMATES’ RIGHTS! OUR RIGHTS!
DEFEND OUR FREEDOM!
CALL FOR THE CONFIRMATION OF SR BAÑEZ!
THIS IS OUR CRY!
LET’S UNITE AND MOVE ALTOGETHER FOR OUR WELFARE!
THIS IS OUR CHALLENGE!