YR 47 Issue 1 2011
ABSC eyes amendment of its constitution
THE ARTS and Letters Student Council (ABSC) filed an appeal to the Board of Majors (BOM) last October, addressing the need to amend the current ABSC constitution due to some ambiguous provisions.

The petition, filed by ABSC President Julius Fernandez, suggested for the “opening of a Constitutional Convention” to determine the possibility of modifying the current constitution.

He stated the “need for the content to be further specified and thoroughly written” as the main reason for the appeal, adding that the amendment “shall lessen the possibilities of ambiguity in the interpretation of the current constitution.”

In the proposed draft made by Fernandez, he specifically defined the grounds for impeachment, added provisions in the students’ bill of rights, and imposed stricter qualifications for those who will run as ABSC president and vice president.

“The draft of the new constitution was based from the draft of the Central Student Council constitution,” he said. “It is only meant to give students an idea, but the last say will still depend on them who will vote for its ratification.”

However, BOM Speaker Rogelio Mariano, Jr. noted that the draft made by Fernandez cannot be considered because the BOM has the sole authority to provide the amendment proceedings.

“The BOM, being the body that decides on the constitutionality of the affairs of the ABSC, told [Fernandez] that is not the way to do it. What he has to do is to officially initiate a petition through the Board of Majors,”
he said. “We, as the Board of Majors, should be the ones to provide a policy k
ung paano babaguhin yung constitution natin.”

The BOM functions as the sole interpreter of the ABSC Constitution. It is composed of the presidents of each society in the Faculty. In response to the petition, the BOM provided the policy on the procedures of amendment through issuing Resolution No. 003. It stated that a referendum to be facilitated by the Artlets Commission on Elections (AB-COMELEC) must follow.

A plebiscite will also be done to determine if the student body would like to change the constitution.

However, the proceedings were put on hold after an impeachment complaint was filed against Fernandez and ABSC Vice President for External Affairs Rhodel Sazon, forcing the BOM to set aside the amendment appeal.

“[The plan to amend the constitution] is the business of the BOM before the Insignia issue. It was part of the discussion, ang problema is hindi na tayo nakapag-proceed kasi pumutok na itong Insignia issue,” Mariano said.

Need for amendment

According to Fernandez, the appeal to amend the constitution “envisions better working relationship with knowledgeable, truly vigilant, responsible, and leadershiporiented Artlets students.”

“I believe the constitution needs more specifications,” Fernandez said. “There are certain provisions in the old constitution that needs to be specified a little further.” Though Mariano agreed with Fernandez that ambiguities are present in the document, he said that “the [BOM] believes it is not necessary to amend the Constitution regarding the general implementing rules and regulations” because it is just a matter of determining who will provide it.

“Yet, I commend his intention to fight the apathy of the students and to involve them more,” he added.

Mariano noted that another hindrance in pursuing the constitutional amendment is the lack of knowledge of the student body to the contents of the ABSC Constitution. As a solution, the BOM advised the ABSC to create an information dissemination campaign.

“While it is really the council’s role to further inform the students about it [Constitution], it is also our responsibility and duty as members of this Faculty to be acquainted and to be informed with its contents,” Mariano added.

With the above-mentioned factors, Mariano said its actualization may take a longer time.

“We need to change the mandate that we have because it has to comply with the needs of our time. But with what is happening here in Artlets,
kung magkakaroon man ng Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution, baka next year na ‘yun,” he said. F
Year 47 |  Issue 3 |  2011
Year 47 |  Issue 4 |  2012