by EDUARDO FAJERMO
INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES running for president and external vice president of the Faculty of Arts and Letter Student Council (ABSC) are pushing for amendments to the student body’s constitution, citing the need to update and clarify some of its provisions.
Ratified in 2005, the constitution outlines the basic principles of the ABSC, including the powers and duties of the elected officials and the committees.
ABSC presidential aspirant Cyrille Coronado and Ierathel Tabuno, candidate for external vice president, believe there are pressing issues that need to be resolved within the document to better lead and serve the Artlet community.
Coronado, a creative writing sophomore and former UST MaKatha vice president, cited the need for an AB constitutional convention to amend the charter, which she described as “vague” and “open for interpretation.”
She cited as an example a provision on the AB Board of Majors (BoM), which she said appears to designate the body as a legislative committee even if it is intended for checks and balances. An amendment to the constitution would formally give the BoM legislative power, Coronado told The Flame.
Coronado also vowed to push for additional provisions that would provide clear cut responsibilities of the judicial and legislative arms of the student body and outline the roles of executive committees.
She said over the years, the council runs the same executive committees but they are not yet included in the constitution.
The presidential aspirant also vowed to define the duties of AB class officers, impose sanctions on those who failed to perform their responsibilities, and propose additional rights and obligations that would protect the interest of the students.
Tabuno, legal management sophomore and former ABSC grievance committee director said she would seek amendments to the constitution in line with her ‘update and upgrade’ agenda.
The candidate for external vice president said the present charter is “outdated and lacking” since it was last ratified 17 years ago.
“Every committee that we have right now in the Artlets student council is essentially ad hoc. There are no stipulated guidelines on the bare necessities that they need to provide or accomplish every year,” Tabuno told The Flame.
Echoing Coronado, Tabuno said the duties of the committees are subject to the interpretation of incumbent officers and not on what they are legally obliged to do. Such an amendment would also allow assessments that would determine if committees are achieving their goals, she said.
“We also need to look for better specifications of the responsibilities of each member of the executive board,” Tabuno added.
While some members of the Artlet community have claimed that frequent academic breaks are disrupting class schedules, Tabuno said the implementation of breaks after examinations can be introduced in the constitution.
She said the constitutional convention that would amend the charter should be composed of the BoM, class officers and all Artlets who are willing to participate in the discussions.
The ABSC constitution states that any Artlet can initiate an amendment to the constitution by filing a petition to the BoM. Proposed revisions and amendments to the constitution will be discussed through a constitutional convention composed of all class representatives.
In 2018, former AB Dean Michael Anthony Vasco did not sign the proposed amendments to the constitution because the ABSC failed to secure the approval of the Faculty Council. F