Sunday, February 28, 2010

Diliman Video of the Week: "Ang Natutunan ko sa Pisay."



The Diliman Video of the Week is "Mula Sa Pisay," a WEDBEV2 Project submitted by Isabel Serrano, Philippine Science High School - Main Campus at Diliman, Quezon City (Source: http://www.youtube.com).

Song credits: "Awit ng Kabataan" by Rivermaya.

This is a touching end-of-the school year video of Philippine Science High School students and their hopes and aspirations for the future. The video shows living, breathing, funny, quirky, charismatic young people who shatter the stereotypes of "Pisay" students as being grinds who are just obssessed with math and science studies. We wish them all the best!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

OP-ED: The Day of the Long Knives: U.P. Board of Regents turns on its own duly Selected U.P. PGH Executive Director

By William H. E. Romero, M.D.

February 25, 2010 was the day of the long knives for the University of the Philippines Philippine General Hospital (U.P. PGH) Executive Director Jose Gonzales, who was finished off quickly by the very same U.P. Board of Regents (BOR) that had voted and selected him last December 18, 2009.

The BOR, in a meeting held on February 25, 2010 declared the Dec. 18, 2009 election of Executive Director Jose Gonzales as being null and void and held a new election during which they elected Dr. Rolando Enrique "Eric" Domingo as the new PGH Director.

Here's a chronology of events, with comments:

Dr. Carmelo Alfiler, was on his second-three-year term as PGH Director, ending Dec. 31, 2009. Normally, PGH Directors should have a maximum of two terms, unless with exemplary or extraordinary performance.

The search process for new director started sometime in August, with initially just two candidates:

1) The incumbent director: Dr. Carmelo Alfiler

2) The former Chairman of the Dept. of Surgery: Dr. Jose Gonzales

A third candidate eventually emerged:

This was the incumbent Deputy Director for Administration (only for the last 2 years): Dr. Eric Domingo.

Comment: a lot of eyebrows were raised when Dr. Eric Domingo joined the candidates because he was close to Dir. Alfiler, and was still a neophyte in the UP-PGH Admin.

A few days prior to the Dec. 18 election of the BOR, Dr. Eric Domingo was "pulled out" from the list of nominees upon U.P. Manila Chancellor Ramon Arcadio's notification of to the BOR that Dr. Domingo was not qualified because his appointment in the U.P. College of Medicine was only part-time, and he was not tenured. Even when Dr. Eric Domingo was already taken out from list, he was calling Regents to vote for him, showing the obvious reason for his run: to take away votes from Dr. Gonzales in what they predicted would be a close fight. The group of U.P. President Emerlinda Roman probably knew before the election about the results of the possible vote, which now relates to a case filed against the Student Regent, which was related to her failure to enroll.

Before the vote, Regent Sarmiento raised the issue that the Student Regent is not enrolled and should not be allowed to vote. The BOR did vote, and the majority decided to allow the Student Regent to vote.

On the actual BOR election on Dec. 18, 2009 this was the resulting vote:

5 votes for Dr. Alfiler:
  • Pres. Emerlinda Roman - Presidential appointee
  • Regent Abraham Sarmiento - Presidential appointee
  • Regent Nelia Gonzales - Presidential appointee
  • Regent Francis chua - Presidential appointee
  • Cong. Cynthia Villar - Chair, Congress Committee on Education
5 votes for Dr. Gonzales:

  • Student Regent Charisse Banez - sectoral rep for students
  • Regent Judy Taguiwalo - sectoral rep for faculty
  • Regent Santos - sectoral rep for staff and employees
  • Regent Pascual - sectoral rep for alumni
  • Sen. Mar Roxas - Chair, Senate Committee on Education
To break the tie, Commission for Higher Education and Development (CHED) Chairman Emmanuel Y. Angeles, who sits as the Chairman of the BOR, voted for Dr. Gonzales. Regent Sarmiento raised objections again on the ground that the Student Regent should not have been allowed to vote, and that he was submitting a formal letter of protest on Dec. 23, 2009.

During the Dec. 18, 2009 BOR meeting, three other appointments were made, aside from that of Director
Gonzales:

1. U.P. Diliman College of Business Administration, Prof. Joselito Florendo, as Director, System Budget Officer.
2. Dr. Flordeliza Lantican, as Dean, College of Economics and Management.
3. Dr. Vicente Medina III, as Dean, College of Dentistry.

All three other appointees immediately received their notice of appointment, but none was received by Dr. Gonzales. At that time, CHED Chairman Angeles knew that the main supporter of Dr. Alfiler was Sen. Manuel Villar and his wife, Rep. Cynthia Villa, who has publicly said that Dr. Alfiler will most likely be the next Secretary of Health if Senator Villar becomes the next Philippine President.

Sensing the possible problem, CHED and BOR Chair Angeles asked Dr. Gonzales to come to his CHED Office on Dec. 21, during which time he administered his oath of office as PGH Executive Director, effective January 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2012. He belatedly knew that Dr. Alfiler was also a personal friend and physician to the children of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

  • On Jan. 4, 2010, first day of office after the holidays, Dr. Gonzales was supposed to be offically introduced to the PGH staff at the usual Monday flag ceremony. This did not happen because Director Gonzales was called to the CHED Office by CHED Chairman Angeles, who told him that the BOR is holding his appointment until the objection of Regent Sarmiento has been resolved.
  • Chairman Angeles, who now obviously has changed his support for Dr. Alfiler, upon orders from President Arroyo, who is a personal friend of Dr. Alfiler. Chairman Angeles grilled Director Gonzales on why Senator Mar Roxas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, and also a U.P. Regent, voted for him. The Students and All UP Workers' Union did a rally in front of PGH protesting the holding back of Dr. Gonzales' appointment.
  • On Jan. 5, 2010, Pres. Roman issued Memo No. PERR-2010-001 withholding the appointment of Dr. Gonzales as PGH Executive Director, and appointing Chancellor Ramon Arcadio as OIC PGH Director, until further advice. A flurry of protests was again started by students and workers, which eventually resulted in the decision to appoint Dr. Gonzales. Chancellor Arcadio administered the oath of office to Dr. Gonzales on January 7, 2010, and as Executive Director of U.P. PGH, he performed his official function, including the day-to-day operations of the U.P. PGH. The hospital was already running at near-normalcy, but the clinical department chair appointments were temporarily put on hold until the BOR dealt with finality on the issue during the January 25, 2010 BOR meeting.      
  • On January 29, 2010, Regent Sarmiento proposed to nullify the Dec. 18 election of PGH Director Jose Gonzales, and for which, the 4 sectoral regents walked out. The BOR meeting was stopped due to a lack of quorum. Students and the All U.p. Workers Union were actually rallying outside.
In the meantime, PGH operations were going on unhampered, and the U.P. College of Medicine dean, with the concurrence of Dir. Gonzales recommended the appointment of the new clinical department chairs by Chancellor Arcadio.

On the day of the February 25, 2010 BOR meeting, the BOR decided first on the matter of removing the Student Regent, Charisse Banez, from the BOR since she was not an officially enrolled student. Having made that decision, there were now only 9 BOR members counted in the meeting (5 presidential appointees, including CHED Chair Angeles, Rep. Cynthia Villar, and the three sectoral representatives). They then proceeded to vote for the nullification of the Dec. 18 election of Director Gonzales, and held a new election, resurrecting Dr. Eric Domingo as a contender again. The three sectoral regents abstained from the voting, and the 6 remaining regents all voted for Dr. Eric Domingo, who was earlier deemed not eligible for the position last December.

Note that the other elected positions decided upon in the Dec. 18 BOR meeting (Prof. Joselito Florendo, as Director, System Budget Officer; Dr. Flordeliza Lantican, as Dean, College of Economics and Management, and Dr. Vicente Medina III, as Dean, College of Dentistry) were not considered null and void. The BOR acted with swift dispatch this time, giving Dr. Domingo his appointment papers effective the same day, Feb. 25, and administering his oath of office on Feb. 26, 2010.

Dr. Domingo is supposed to be offically presented to the PGH community as the new Executive Director on Monday, March 1, 2010 but will be met by a rally of employees, faculty, and students who are protesting the unfair, unjust and oppressive moves of the BOR, so uncharacteristic of academic freedom and truth that U.P. stands for.

The political intervention of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Manny Villar in U.P. PGH is deplorable!

(William Romero, M.D. is a UP graduate, BS Zoology in 1977 and Medicine in 1981. He currently practices in the United States).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dr. Enrique Domingo is now new U.P. Philippine General Hospital Executive Director

(Source: Mu Sigma Phi)

It's now confirmed. Dr. Rolando Enrique D. Domingo, U.P. College of Medicine,  is now the new Executive Director of the University of the Philippines General Hospital (U.P. PGH).

This was confirmed today, February 26, 2010, by the Office of the Secretary of the University, a day after the U.P. Board of Regents (BOR) met on February 25, 2010 to discuss the issue of who would man the helm of U.P. PGH, the status of Student Regent Charisse Banez, and other issues.

Dr. Domingo replaces Dr. Jose Gonzales, who served as U.P. PGH Executive Director from January 4, 2010 to February 25, 2010.

According to the website of Mu Sigma Phi, a medical fraternity, based at the U.P. College of Medicine, which Dr. Domingo is a member of (http://www.musigmaphi.com/), Dr. Domingo is an accomplished ophthalmologist and a past Deparment of Health Assistant Secretary and was also Deputy Director for Administration under former PGH Director Dr. Carmelo Alfiler.

Dr. Domingo was voted into position at the UP Board of Regents (BOR) meeting held on February 25, 2010. The BOR is the highest policy-making body in the UP System.

Search Process is on for U.P. Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards



The University of the Philippines Alumni Assocation (UPAA) is now undergoing a search process for nominees for UPAA’s 2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards to be conferred in June 2010. Individuals, including non-U.P. graduates, are invited to nominate U.P. Alumni for this prestigious award.

Recognition is given to alumni for distinguished performance in a thematic area, for lifetime achievement in the public or private sector, or for exemplary service to the UPAA. For the distinguished alumni awards, there are predefined areas but an award may be tailored to the achievements of the nominee. The existing categories are: public service and governance and good governance; poverty alleviation and human development; peace and social cohesion; gender equality/women empowerment; community empowerment; environmental conservation and sustainable development; entrepreneurship and employment creation; institutional/corporate social responsiblity; culture and the arts; science and technology; education and health. Going forward, efforts will be exerted to identify and recognize unsung achievers who are making a difference in community which they have chosen to serve.

Details are available through the UPAA website: (http://www.upalumni.ph/index.php).

Inquiries may also be coursed through: UPAA, Ang Bahay ng Alumni, Magsaysay Avenue, UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City 1101 Philippines or call telephone numbers: +632 920-6868/ 920-6871/ 920-6875

Correction regarding the Student Regent

February 26, 2010 - This is to correct a previous dispatch of the Diliman Diary made on February 25, 2010 which stated in part that: "However, the Office of the Student Regent, located in Vinzon's Hall, U.P. Diliman confirmed that (Student Regent Charisse) Bañez's application for an injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and TRO (temporary restraining order) was denied. She therefore attended today's BOR (Board of Regents)  meeting as an observer, and not as a full voting regent."

The Diliman Diary received an email today from the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Alumni Regent, Alfredo E. Pascual, which said in part that: "As you may know by now, the incumbent Student Regent was not allowed to participate as a voting member nor sit in as an observer at yesterday’s meeting of the BOR. We will now have to wait for the court to rule on the status of the SR based on the case she filed. While a TRO was denied, I understand the main case is still subject to adjudication."

The Diliman Diary's previous dispatch was based on Student Regent Charisse Bañez's February 22, 2010 application for an injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO), filed with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch # 215; restraining the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR) from approving and implementing a draft BOR resolution seeking Banez's disbarment as a voting Regent, wherein she stated that she had been invited on February 14, 2010 by the Secretary of the University, Dr. Lourdes Abadingo, to sit in the February 25, 2010 BOR meeting as an observer. However, this has been superseded by events, as per the email clarification of the Alumni Regent, Alfredo E. Pascual.

The Diliman Diary regrets the error.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Breaking News: University of the Philippines PGH Executive Director Possibly Ousted in February 25 BOR meeting



By Chanda Shahani

The elimination this morning by the University of the Philippines Board of Regents (BOR) of Student Regent Charisse Banez's eligibility to vote as a Student Regent has consequentially impacted the selection of the new U.P. Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Executive Director last December 18, 2009 and has resulted in a realignment of votes within the BOR leading to the possible removal of Dr. Jose Gonzales as PGH Executive Director and the installation of Dr. Enrique Domingo, of Sentro Oftalmologico, as the new Executive Director of PGH, sources told the Diliman Diary today.

The Office of the Secretary of the University would neither confirm nor deny that Dr. Domingo was now the OIC-designate of PGH in view of standard procedure prohibiting them from releasing BOR decisions except in written form that have already been approved, and these were not yet available as of press time.

The Diliman Diary continues to cover this story, and will provide updates as soon as they are made available.

U.P. Student Regent's application for TRO vs. U.P. Administration is Denied.

By Chanda Shahani

The University of the Philippines (U.P.) Student Regent Charisse Bañez's February 22, 2010 application for an injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO), filed with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch # 215; restraining the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR) from approving and implementing a draft BOR resolution seeking Banez's disbarment as a voting Regent has been denied.

The Office of RTC Branch # 215 confirmed over the telephone that they released the Court Resolution as early as 8:00 a.m. today, February 25, 2010 but could not divulge the contents of the resolution over the telephone, in accordance with court procedure.

However, the Office of the Student Regent, located in Vinzon's Hall, U.P. Diliman confirmed that Bañez's application for an injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and TRO was denied. She therefore attended today's BOR meeting as an observer, and not as a full voting regent.

Additionally, Banez’s denied application for a TRO resulting in her elimination as a voting regent has also had the effect of opening a Pandora’s box with respect to three (3) other regents, whom she says are currently serving with expired terms.

These Regents are: Regent Abraham F. Sarmiento, Regent Nelia T. Gonzalez and Regent Francis C. Chua.

In her February 22, 2010 application for a TRO, Banez stated that:

  • “Regent Sarmiento was appointed by the President as an “ACTING MEMBER, BOARD OF REGENTS, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES SYSTEM” on September 29, 2008.”
  • “Regent Gonzalez was appointed by the President as an “ACTING MEMBER, BOARD OF REGENTS, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES SYSTEM” on March 18, 2008.”
  • “Regent Chua was appointed by the President as an “ACTING MEMBER, BOARD OF REGENTS, UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES SYSTEM” on January 1, 2008.”
Citing Sections 16 and 17 of E.O. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987) she said in hr application that while the President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shall exercise the power to appoint officials such as the above regents, "in no case shall a temporary designation exceed one (1) year.”

Looming in the background over the issue of Bañez's disbarment as a voting Regent is the elimination of her swing vote as a Regent on December 18, 2009 in favour of Dr. Carlos Gonzales as the new Executive Director of U.P.'s Philippine General Hospital (PGH). Six (6) Regents, including Banez voted for Gonzales, while Five (5) Regents, including U.P. President Emerlinda Roman voted for outgoing PGH Executive Director Carlos Alfiler. Observers view the elimination of Bañez as part of a sub-plot to actually remove Gonzales by creating a divided vote of five (5) Regents for Gonzales and five (5) for Alfiler allowing for the implementation of a January 5, 2010 memo by President Roman appointing an OIC for PGH.

If Bañez amends her complaint or files another complaint with the purpose of disqualifying the votes of the three (3) regents with expired terms, who coincidentally, voted for Alfiler, then she may eventually succeed in altering the equation in favour of Dr. Gonzales if the question of his stewardship of PGH is brought to another round of votes in the BOR.

However, the new status quo where there are only ten (10) voting regents and one (1) observer Student Regent holds sway for now.

Reliable sources said that in today's BOR meeting, U.P.'s Legal Office said that Regents Sarmiento, Gonzales and Chua continued to carry on in a holdover capacity even if they were no longer acting regents in view of the fact that the entire issue was now sub judice or under litigation. Additionally, the BOR was now recommending these three (3) regents to President Arroyo for regular appointments. As of press time, this could not, however, be independently confirmed.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

U.P. Student Regent's application for TRO vs. U.P. Administration goes right down to the wire

(Hall of Justice, Quezon City)

By Chanda Shahani

For Student Regent Charisse Bañez, it's literally right down to the wire for her February 22, 2010 application for an injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO), which was heard today, on February 24, 2010 at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch # 215; restraining the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR) from approving and implementing a draft BOR resolution seeking Banez's disbarment as a voting Regent before tomorrow's 9 a.m. meeting of the BOR on February 25, 2010 at U.P. Diliman

As of five p.m. today, February 24, there was no court resolution on Banez's application for a TRO.

The U.P. Administration is seeking Banez's disbarment as a voting Student Regent on the grounds that she was neither enrolled as a U.P. student or had filed a Leave of Absence (LOA) and was thus no longer a Student Regent at the time that she and a majority of other regents voted to allow her to vote pending the resolution of her case.

Assuming the TRO is approved through a court resolution ordered by the presiding judge, Hon. Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano Padilla, of RTC QC Branch 215, then the earliest time it could be released is at 8 a.m., and if it is not presented to the BOR before voting takes place on the draft BOR resolution, then Bañez will not be able to vote on her own case; and the BOR resolution is in danger of either being split by a tie, assuming that the BOR votes the same way it did on her being allowed to vote as a Student Regent last December 18, 2009 when Bañez squeaked through by five (5) votes to four (4).

Bañez's being unable to get a TRO or to get in time before voting takes place on her case allows the default scenario to take place; which is the U.P. Administration's insistence that she only sit as an observer Student Regent without being able to vote as a Student Regent.

Today's hearing at 10 a.m., was remarkable for the legal histrionics of U.P.'s legal counsel, Atty. Theodore Te, a professor of law at the College of Law, U.P. Diliman. Banez was represented by Atty. Henry S. Rojas, and collaborating counsel, Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag.

The hearing was essentially characterized by Atty. Rojas' emphasis on the urgency to implement the TRO in order to prevent the BOR implementing a draft resolution seeking Bañez's disbarment as a voting Regent before tomorrow's 9 a.m. meeting of the BOR on February 25, 2010 at U.P. Diliman. Atty. Te, on the other hand argued that there should be no TRO issued if it did not result in any grave or irrepairable injury or if an undue disposition was given to the case on its merits; considering that the volume of evidence involved was so voluminous that it would require the court to go to the main case which was already impossible in view of the time contsraints.

An analysis of timelines of both parties would indicate that both sides are playing for time, and this would affect the legal strategies of the legal counsels of both sides.

In the case of Bañez, a Court resolution allowing for a TRO and issued before the BOR meeting on February 25, 2010 would allow her to vote against approving and implementing a draft BOR resolution seeking Banez's disbarment as a voting Regent. If successful, she would still have to buy more time, however, for the BOR usualy meets once a month, and she may have to hurdle attempts to remove her again this March before the GASC (General Assembly of Student Councils) convenes in April 2010 to select a new Student Regent.

In the case of the U.P. Administration, a Court resolution denying Bañez's prayer for a TRO could effectively allow U.P. to roll out a series of well-laid traps which could include unilaterally implementing its individual interpretation of existing rules disallowing her to vote as a Student Regent without any practical judicial intervention during the remaining few months left in Bañez's term. By insisting that the issues raised by Bañez need to be addressed in a main case, U.P. is practically guaranteeing that the case will drag on for many years or well beyond the period of time when Banez's normal term of office would have lapsed.

Looming in the background, as the 600-pound gorrilla hanging over the issue of Bañez's disbarment as a voting Regent is the elimination of her swing vote as a Regent on December 18, 2009 in favour of Dr. Carlos Gonzales as the new Executive Director of U.P.'s Philippine General Hospital (PGH). Six (6) Regents, including Banez voted for Gonzales, while Five (5) Regents, including U.P. President Emerlinda Roman voted for outgoing PGH Executive Director Carlos Alfiler. Observers view the elimination of Bañez as part of a sub-plot to actually remove Gonzales by creating a divided vote of five (5) Regents for Gonzales and five (5) for Alfiler allowing for the implementation of a January 5, 2010 memo by President Roman appointing an OIC for PGH.

Although Atty. Rojas referred to the related issue of the PGH Executive Director in his opening statement, Atty. Te objected to this and called this “speculative,” and “irrelevant” to the complaint, asking that it be removed from the official record.

Although Atty. Te declined to be interviewed by the Diliman Diary, his arguments were notable for the passion, flair and erudition with which he argued, as well as his heavy emphasis on legal technicalities. However, Te's arguments also suffered from minimal or no references to the issues of fairness, ethics or the right of students to be represented. Writing in a blog in 2006 entitled “Vincula,” (http://tedte.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html) Atty. Te wrote revealingly that: “We have a saying among trial lawyers: if you are weak on the facts, pound on the law; if you are weak on the law, pound on the facts; if you are weak on the law and the facts, pound on the table.”

Other highlights of Atty. Te's arguments were:

  • While the summary proceedings were characterized by a “sampling of evidence” with the judge as the main audience, this particular hearing was not the appropriate time to hear the cause of action or legal justification for allowing the case to be heard.
  • Since Bañez's application for an injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order (TRO) was not an application for certiorari, or an injunction or for damages, then it was premature to consider the issues highlighted in her application before the court given that these issues neccessitated the furnishing the court with extensive proof and even cross examination resulting the court to go to the main case.
  • There was a need to join complex, interlocking issues and therfore the court could not yet receive evidence at the preliminary hearing.
  • The court would create a new status quo if it, through a court resolution, grants Bañez's application for a TRO given the fact that the act she seeks to restrain is a resolution of the BOR which is an act that has already been accomplished. He emphasized that the Supreme Court has already establoshed that a TRO cannot be done on an act already performed.
  • If the court intervenes and grants a TRO, then it would have to say that Bañez is qualified to act as Student Regent with full rights and responsibilities and that would be inconsistent with a necessity for a factual and legal application of the issues at hand, and that hearing was not the right forum.
  • Bañez's admission thar she was neither enrolled or on LOA was a “judicial admission binding on Bañez.”
  • Bañez's presence is not needed for a quorum. A public office is not a right, and a TRO will essentially reinstate her in office.
Atty. Rojas and Atty. Matibag argued their points for Bañez in a more phlegmatic manner than Atty. Te. The highlights of their points were:

  • Bañez is suing as Student Regent and not in her individual capacity
  • Bañez is asking for judicial relief which would result in a permanent injunction agains the implementation of the resolution of the BOR.
  • There was no quorum of the BOR last January 29, 2010 despite the claim of the U.P. administration that a quorum existed when a vote was taken to disbar Bañez as a voting member of the BOR. The reason for this is that out of the eleven (11) regents, only nine (9) showed up at the January 29 BOR meeting, but that three (3) of them had expired terms as acting regents.
  • Assuming that the presence of the three (3) regents with expired terms were counted, there were effectively only five (5) members who voted, since four of the other regents either staged a “principled walkout” during the BOR meeting or were unable to participate in the vote, leading to a lack of a quorum.
  • Bañez is a bona fide student of U.P. Los Baños due to a pending application despite claims of the U.P. Administration that she failed to submit her application for residency or file a Leave of Absence on time, and thus is no longer a U.P. student and therefore no longer a Student Regent.
  • An application for late residency has been acted upon by various colleges within the U.P. System and Bañez's application has not yet been acted upon.
The next hearing has been set to March 17, 2010 although these may frequently be reset or rescheduled.

Pinoy Movie Review: Di na Natuto: Isang Sipat sa "Quicktrip" ni Cris Pablo




Ni Mar Anthony Simon de la Cruz

Magdadalawang taon na nang unang ipinalabas ang “Quicktrip” (dating "Quickie") ni Crisaldo Vicente Pablo. Maraming pumuri, at marami rin namang, sa terminilohiya ng sangkabaklaan, na-chakahan. Ilang kaibigan ang nagtangkang kaladkarin ako papuntang UP Cine Adarna para mapanood ang premiere screening. Pero, magkamatayan na, kahit na isangla ko pa ang mga kapitbahay ko, hinding-hindi ko panonoorin ang indie gay film na ito. Pagkatapos kasi akong ma-knock out sa inis sa “Bathhouse” at “Metlogs” ni Pablo, itinaga ko sa batong hindi na muling mag-aaksaya ng pera at hikab sa kanyang mga pelikula.

Nilunok ko ang mga salita ko.

Na-assign akong gumawa ng review ng isa sa mga pelikula sa Queer Love Fim Festival na proyekto ng Philippine Independent Filmmakers. Excited ako sa “Boy” ni Aureaus Solito at sa “Daybreak” ni Adolfo Alix, Jr. Sa una dahil napa-awww ako sa “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros” at sa pangalawa dahil minahal ko ang “Donsol”. Naintriga rin ako sa “Ben & Sam” ni Mark Shandii Bacolod at “The Thank You Girls” ni Bebs Gohetia. Hindi ako fan ni Joel Lamangan, kung pagbabasehan ang huli niyang mga proyekto, kaya burado agad sa listahan ko ang “Heavenly Touch” at “Walang Kawala”. Inekisan k rin ang “Ang Laro sa Buhay ni Juan” ni Jay Altarejos dahil hindi ko nagustuhan ang mga nauna niyang proyekto, “Ang Lalaki sa Parola” at “Ang Lihim ni Antonio”.

Sabi ko nga, napako ang ipinangako ko sa sarili. Dahil sa February 23 screening lang ng “Quicktrip” ako puwede, wala na akong magawa kundi magbayad ng PhP 161 at maupo sa sinehang aalog-alog.

Nanakawan ng cell phone si Dexter (Ian Alacador), ang materialistic na call center agent na grabe kung ipedestal ang trabaho (something to this effect: "Tandaan mo, waiter ka lang, call center agent ako!"). Nakipag-break siya sa kasintahang si Cris (Toffer Barretto) dahil hindi matustusan ng waiter na nakatira sa iskwater ang kanyang mga luho. Nakipag-date sa iba si Dexter. Nakilala ni Cris si Andro (Andrew Morgan). At katulad ng sa iba pang mga pelikula ni Pablo, nangyari ang dapat na mangyari. Na-in love ang bida matapos marinig ang kuwentong-buhay ng lalaki at matapos mairaos ang init ng katawan. Climax. Isa palang barumbadong call boy si Andro, pinagsasapok at kinikilan ang kawawang si Cris. Nakaganti ang binata at nabawi ang pera.

Si Pablo ang isa sa mga nanguna sa paggawa ng mga pelikulang indie sa Pilipinas. Ngunit kung ang ibang direktor ay tumatalakay na sa mas malalang problema sa lipunang ginagalawan ng mga bakla, mistulang napako si Pablo sa pagtalakay sa paksang paulit-ulit nang tinatalakay sa mga pelikulang para sa bakla – sex. Itinanghal sa pelikula ang pagiging oportunista at pagiging hayok sa sex ng mga bakla, isang imaheng kumakaladkad paatras sa tunguhin ng pagsusulong ng karapatan ng mga bakla.

Sa “Quicktrip”, pinoproblema nina Cris at Andro kung saan sila magse-sex. Sa sinehan, parang mga sabik na buwitre ang mga bakla, naghahanap ng karneng malalapa. Ipinakita rin ang desperasyon ng isang pangit na bakla na makatikim ng lalaki. Halos manikluhod siya kina Cris at Ando para isama siya sa kanilang pagti-trip, halos sambahin ang dalawa. Hanggang ngayon, hindi pa rin maiwasan ni Pablo ang pag-stereotype sa mga bakla: parlorista, gimikero, malandi, papalit-palit ng nobyo, sumasamba sa bukol, hindi nag-iisip, madaling maloko. May pagtatangka ngayon aa panitikan at sa pelikula na iangat ang bakla hindi lamang bilang taong hayok sa sex, kundi isang taong may iba pang problema maliban sa sex. Hindi ko ito nakita sa pelikula ni Pablo.

Tinangka rin naman niyang sagkain ang nakasanayan. Sa isang eksena ay ang magkasintahang transvestite. Ngunit ginawa itong katawa-tawa sa pelikula na parang sinasabing hindi dapat seryosohin ang ganitong relasyon. At bagamat propesyonal ang ilang bakla sa pelikula, makikitang nakakulong pa rin sila sa kahon.

Tinangka rin ng pelikulang sipatin ang relasyon ng kahirapan at kasarian. Gusto ko ang opening credits: Mula sa ilang libong suweldo ni Cris, iilang daang piso na lamang ang natitira sa kanya. Dahil sa kanyang kahirapan, hiniwalayan siya ni Dexter. Ito ang isa pang kahinaan ng pelikula. Mas may saysay sana kung tinalunton ng direktor ang epekto ng kahirapan sa pagkatao ni Cris bilang isang bakla, hiwalay sa kanyang relasyon. Mas matindi kasi ang problema ng kahirapang dinaranas ng bida – mababang pasahod, demolisyon, inang maysakit, mga kapatid na walang pambayad sa mga gastusin sa paaralan – kaysa sa napakababaw niyang relasyon kay Dexter. Mula sa hanay ng mahihirap ang pangunahing tauhan sa pelikula, ngunit sensibilidad ng isang nasa middle class ang namayani rito.

Nanghinayang ako sa PhP 161 na ibinayad ko sa sinehan sa Robinsons. Mapapalampas ko ang di-kagalingang pag-arte, ang pag-i-Ingles ng mga tauhan na nakapagpapadugo ng ilong, at ang ilang problemang teknikal (halimbawa, hindi konsistent ang lakas ng tunog), pero hindi ko kayang balewalain ang hindi patuloy na pagkabansot ng mga likha ni Pablo. Malaking balakid ang mga likhang tulad ng “Quicktrip” sa pag-unlad ng mga kilusang nagtataguyod sa adhika ng mga bakla sa Pilipinas.

(Mar Anthony Simon de la Cruz is a freelance writer currently based in U.P., Diliman. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in Creative Writing at U.P. Diliman)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

U.P. Student Regent Charisse Bañez files TRO vs. U.P. President Emerlinda Roman and Allies


   (From left to right: Student Regent Bañez and President Roman.


By Chanda Shahani

Tit for tat. The Student Regent Charisse Bernadine Bañez has now decisively answered the tax-payer funded University of the Philippines (U.P.) administration's attempts to disallow her vote cast as a member of the Board of Regents (BOR) in favour of the narrowly won selection of Dr. Carlos Gonzales as U.P. Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Executive Director with her own application for a temporary restraining order (TRO) on February 22 before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) praying that she continue the unhampered exercise of her functions as Student Regent for 20 days or until the RTC resolves the issue with finality.

The hearing for the possible granting of the TRO is set on Feb 24, 2010, at 8:30 am at the sala of Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano Padilla, RTC QC Branch 215 and the decision is expected within the day. The granting of the TRO is seen as being especially urgent since the next scheduled BOR meeting is set on the next day, or on February 25, 2010 and the granting of the TRO would essentially determine whether Bañez remains as a voting member of the BOR or effectvely has her status whittled down to being a mere observer by the implementation of a BOR resolution penned by the U.P. administration removing her right to vote as a member of the BOR.

In her prayer, Bañez asked that “Immediately upon the filing of this application, this Honorable Court conduct an ex-parte hearing on plaintiff’s application for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order effective for twenty (20) days, restoring the parties to their last peaceable and uncontested status before the controversy started on January 29, 2010, and prohibiting and enjoining the defendants from: (a) disallowing the plaintiff, as Student Regent, from attending, participating in, and voting in the meetings of the Board of Regents; and (b) exercising her office as Student Regent.”

Bañez is citing the following facts and issues in support of her right to relief in court which, if successful, would result in a permanent injunction agains the implementation of the resolution of the BOR adopted in its 1253rd meeting held on January 29, 2010 disallowing her from participating in and voting in BOR meetings:

  • The Resolution of the BOR disallowing Student Regent Bañez from participating in, and voting, in the meetings of the Board of Regents is invalid because there was no quorum in the 1253rd meeting of the Board of Regents held on January 29, 2010 and the votes cast in that meeting were invalid.
  • While the BOR is composed of eleven (11) members, in the 1253rd meeting of the BOR held on January 29, 2010, there were nine (9) members of the BORs who were present, namely: Chairman Eduardo Y. Angeles, President Emerlinda R. Roman, Regent Abraham F. Sarmiento, Regent Nelia T. Gonzalez, Regent Francis C. Chua, Regent Alfredo E. Pascual, Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo, Regent Bañez and Regent Clodualdo E. Cabrera.
  • Of these nine (9) members of the Board of Regents, there are three (3) Regents with expired terms, namely: Regent Sarmiento, Regent Gonzalez and Regent Chua.
  • Regent Sarmiento was appointed by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as an “Acting Member” of the BOR on September 29, 2008.
  • Regent Gonzalez was likewise appointed by President Arroyo as an “Acting Member” of the BOR on March 18, 2008.
  • Regent Chua was appointed by the President as an “Acting Member” of the BOR on January 1, 2008.
  • Citing Sections 16 and 17 of Executive Order (E.O.) 292 or the Administrative Code of 1987 Bañez stated that the President of the Philippines shall exercise the power to appoint officials as provided for in the Constitution and laws; and that the President may temporarily designate an officer already in the government service or any other competent person to perform the functions of an office in the executive branch, appointment to which is vested in him by law, when: (a) the officer regularly appointed to the office is unable to perform his duties by reason of illness, absence or any other cause; or (b) there exists a vacancy;
  • E.O. 292 also states that in no case shall a temporary designation exceed one (1) year. However, Regents Gonzales, Chua and Sarmiento had already exceeded the one-year mark for their temporary designations as “Acting Members” of the BOR when they voted on January 29, 2010 to disqualify Bañez's eligibility to vote as a member of the BOR.
Ironically, the designation of Regent Sarmiento as an “Acting Member” of the BOR by President Arroyo had already long expired when he manifested his intention on the December 18, 2009 BOR meeting to file a protest against the appointment of Dr. Gonzales who was selected over outgoing PGH Executive Director Carlos Alfiler by a majority of the BOR (six (6) votes to five (5) votes) on the ground that Student Regent Bañez was not qualified to vote in the said meeting.

In her February 22, 2010 Complaint for Injunction with prayer for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order, filed before RTC QC Branch 215, Student Regent Bañez said that for the purpose of determining attendance and quorum in the 1253rd meeting of the BOR held in Quezon Hall on January 29, 2010 at U.P. Diliman, only six (6) Regents should be counted, namely: Chairman Angeles, President Roman, Alumni Regent Pascual, Faculty Regent Taguiwalo, Staff Regent Cabrera and Student Regent Bañez.

In her complaint, she said that when Regents Taguiwalo, Cabrera and Bañez left the meeting, there were only three (3) Regents in good standing who were left, namely: Chairman Angeles, President Roman and Alumni Regent Pascual. She said that when the motion was put to a vote, there was no longer a valid quorum for the meeting. She added that the votes cast by Regents Sarmiento, Gonzalez and Chua were invalid votes because their terms as Regents have already expired after twelve (12) months from the dates of their appointments as acting members of the Board of Regents.

Even if the presence of Regents Sarmiento, Gonzalez and Chua were counted for the purpose of determining quorum, still, there was no quorum when the motion on the status of the Student Regent was voted upon because Regent Pascual was inside the toilet when the actual voting took place, the complaint read in part.

The complaint alleges that contrary to what is reflected in the draft minutes of the 1253rd meeting of the Board of Regents that Regent Pascual was present in the meeting when the motion and voting on the status of the Student Regent took place, the facts are that Regent Pascual went to the toilet before the motion was made and put to a vote. Upon his return to the meeting, he was surprised to find out that the motion and voting has already taken place in his absence.

Bañez said that there were only five (5) members of the Board of Regents who were present when the motion and voting on the status of the Student took place, namely: Chairman Angeles, President Roman, Regent Sarmiento, Regent Gonzalez and Regent Chua. Clearly, there was no valid quorum of six (6) when the motion and voting on the status of the Student Regent took place.

She is asking the court to to declare as invalid the resolution of the BOR to disallow her to participate in, and vote, in meetings of the Board of Regents “approved” in the 1253rd meeting of the Board of Regents held on January 29, 2010 and that the BOR should also be permanently enjoined from implementing this resolution.

The Diliman Diary has exercised due diligence in attempting to get the U.P. administration's side in the past. In an email dated February 23, 1010, the Diliman Diary asked Attorney Theodore Te, Vice President for Legal Affairs of U.P., to comment or react to the factual and other allegations contained in Bañez's complaint. However, as of press time, Attorney Te had not replied to the Diliman Diary's email.

On February 12, 2010, the Diliman Diary had earlier emailed the Facebook account of Dr. Lourdes Abadingo, the Secretary of the University, asking her to verify “upon very good authority” that “in the last meeting of the BOR (January 29) there was a quorum when the decision to disqualify the Student Regent was made. Is this claim by that authority accurate in view of the fact there was supposed to have been a walkout by some regents resulting in no quorum at all?”

In reality, the “very good authority,” who claimed that there was indeed a quorum when the decision to disqualify the Student Regent was made was no less than U.P. President Roman when she replied on February 8, 2010 to an email query on the matter to Dr. Silverio Cabellon, Chairman of the University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society of America that, “In the last meeting of the Board (January), there was still a quorum when the decision to disqualify the Student Regent was made. This can be attested by the Secretary of the Board.” However, to date, there has been no reply or response by Dr. Abadingo to the Diliman Diary's query as to whether or not there was a quorum of the BOR when some mebers of the BOR tried to remove her as a voting member of the BOR.

The Diliman Diary also tried emailing Dr. Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, U.P.'s Vice President for Public Affairs, on February 12, 2010 for clarifications on U.P.'s statement on its own website at http://www.up.edu.ph/features.php? stating that the Student Regent was no longer eligible to act as a Student Regent with full powers and responsiblilities or to at least be put in touch with the author if the statement which President Roman said in her email to Dr. Cabellon was uploaded by Office of the Vice-President for Public Affairs; but Dr. Hidalgo has not replied to the Diliman Diary's email query to date.

With the filing of this case, Bañez could have potentially plunged the entire BOR into a crisis by asking the court to disqualify the three other “Acting Members” of the BOR whose terms of office have long since lapsed. However, she is instead asking the Court to conduct an ex-parte hearing on her application for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order effective for twenty (20) days,“restoring the parties to their last peaceable and uncontested status before the controversy started on January 29, 2010,” or in other words, maintain the status quo.

If the TRO is granted, then Bañez effectively will be allowed to vote on the draft BOR resolution removing her right to vote as a Regent in the BOR and if it is not granted, then President Roman's assertion that there was a quorum and a majority vote existed to remove her right to vote as Student Regent effectively removes Bañez's one vote in favour of the narrowly won selection of Dr. Carlos Gonzales as PGH Executive Director over outgoing PGH Executive Director Carlos Alfiler.

The potential elimination of Bañez's vote as a bona fide voting member of the BOR potentially creates a hung jury of five (5) remaining votes for Gonzales and five (5) votes for Alfiler and could reverse a de facto acknowledgement by Quezon Hall, published by on U.P. own website at: (http://www.up.edu.ph/features.php?i=176) that Gonzales is the Executive Director of PGH which is based on the premise that six (6) and not five (5) Regents voted for him.

A removal of Bañez's eligibility to vote could pave the way for the U.P. Administration to immediately implement Memorandum No. PERR-2010-001, issued byPresident Roman dated January 5, 2010, appointing Chancellor Ramon L. Arcadio as Officer-in-Charge of PGH, thus removing Dr. Gonzales as PGH Executive Director. Dr. Gonzales continues to acts as the Executive Director of PGH despite the existence of President Roman's memo.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Roving Gourmand: mag:net café: Undiscovered Eats in an Eclectic Atmosphere



By Chanda Shahani

For a weekend evening treat, fellow Diliman Diary writer Paul Lee and I decided to reexplore mag:net café in front of Miriam College on Katipunan Avenue right besides Rustan's Supermarket and check out if they had any cuisine worth remembering. We're glad we did!

We were pleasantly surprised at the welcoming ambiance and attractive décor once one steps off Katipunan Avenue into mag:net café. The second floor, where the restaurant-cum-bar is located, is tidy and tastefully decorated without clutter. There is room for tables to be placed far enough apart that one does not feel as if dining back to back with those at the table behind. One of the tables even had the words emblazoned on it: “I am what you think I think I am.” This was certainly food for the mind to accompany the food for the body.

In the ground floor is an art gallery-cum-bookstore with various titles ranging from best-sellers to Filipiniana as well as an extensive magzine collection. It was also stocked with Original Pilipino Music CDs.

The food was more than ample, nicely prepared, and extremely fresh. For the appetizer, we tried the fish and chips (PhP 135.00) which is a crispy friend fish fillet spiced with logarashi and potato chips and accompanied with mayo dip and we found it to be moist and slightly sweet with a succulent batter coating. But the pièce de résistance was very definitely the mag:net pizza (PhP 140.00) which we both shared. The toppings were amply overlaid with a unique mix of longganisa, sisig and kesong puti and the combination of the spicy longganisa, slightly fatty sisig and salty kesong puti was filling and a great feed for two hungry writers. Barely any room left for dessert – not!

For dessert, we tried the Chocolate Nutella Banana Turon (PhP 95.00) which is Cavendish rolled with lumpia wrapper topped with halo-halo ice cream and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The overall taste was warm, slightly fuzzy to the taste, but not overly sweet. A perfect comfort food dessert to round off the heavier dishes we had tried earlier!

The waiters and staff were helpful and pleasant without being intrusive. Prices were average for the Katipunan area, and we both felt as if we received very good value for our money. Also noteworthy are the heavier campus meals with prices ranging from PhP 125.00 to PhP 250.00 which puts this into the category of a great place for students to bring a date for a night out.

On Monday evenings they have “Happy Mondays,” where bands play and there are live poetry readings. There is also an extensive cocktail selection, and beer and wine are also served.We will definitely be back, and do recommend mag:net café to others.


mag:net café
Katipunan Avenue:
In front of Miriam College, beside Rustan’s Supermarket
Quezon City , Philippines
For reservations call: 929-3191
Website: http://www.magnet.com.ph/
Contact: Mr. Rock Drilon
Email: rock@drilon.com

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pinoy Movie Review: "Paano na Kaya?"




Ni Vida Llevares

Mula sa matagumpay nilang teleserye na “Tayong Dalawa” at ang kasalukuyang namamayagpag din sa ere na “Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo”, muli na naman nating masisilayan ang pinakasinusubaybayang tambalan ng henerasyon ngayon sa isang naiibang pag atake sa pelikula, sina Gerald Anderson at Kim Chui. Handog ng Star Cinema at ABS-CBN Productions, sa direksyon ni Ruel Bayani ang pelikulang “Paano na Kaya?” ay iikot sa istorya ng dalawang matalik na magkaibigan na magagawang mahulog ang loob sa isa’t-isa. Ang pelikulang ito ay siguradong magbibigay ng ligaya at kilig lalo na sa mga natatanging tagasubaybay ng tambalang Kimerald kung tawagin.

Kilala sa kanilang mahusay na pagganap ng matinding drama sa mga nasabing teleserye sa telebisyon, isang magaang na drama naman na may halong kaunting komedi ang kanilang gagampanan sa pelikulang ito. Para sa maraming panatiko ng pelikulang pang pag-ibig, ang istorya ng pelikulang ito ay tipikal, napakapayak at inaasahan na ng marami, maging ang pagtatapos. Walang naging kakaiba at bukod-tangi na maaaring ipamalita ng sinomang nakapanood nito. Marami din ang nakapuna ng hindi pagkakaugma ng mga linyang ibinabato sa naturang pelikula ng mga tampok na artista. May mga litanyang sana ay isinalin na lang sa tagalog upang mas nagkaroon ng bigat habang binibitiwan. Naging kapuna puna din ang mabilis na pagikot ng istorya mula sa paggiging matalik na magkaibigan hanggang sa mahulog ang loob ni Kim kay Gerald. Inaasahan pa naman ng marami na tatagal sa paggiging magkaibigan muna ang dalawa bago maging magkasintahan. Sa ganitong paraan lalong napagiibayo ng mga tampok na artista ang makapagbigay ng kilig at higit na kaabang-abang na mga eksena. Subalit sa humigit kumulang dalawampung minuto ay agad ng nakaikot ang istorya sa paggiging magkasintahan ng dalawa. Ang nabigyan ng higit na atensyon at pokus ng pelikulang ito ay kung papano maipaglalaban nina Mae, ang karakter na ginagampanan ni Kim at Bogs, ang karakter naman ni Gerald ang kanilang pagmamahalan sa muling pagpaparamdam ng dating kasintahan ni Bogs na si Anna na ginampanan naman ni Melissa Ricks.

Ang istorya ng “Paano na Kaya?” bagamat tipikal ay nabigyan pa rin ng mahusay na pagganap ng mga artistang kasama dito lalo na ng mga bidang sina Kim at Gerald. Malaki pa din ang naging kontribusyon ng mga teleseryeng kanilang nauna ng ginawa katulad ng “Tayong Dalawa” sa mahusay nilang pag arte sa kabila ng hindi kagandahan ng istorya nito. Kung hindi rin dahil sa kasikatan at husay sa pag arte ng mga bidang ito, posibleng marami na ang nagsipaglabasan ng sinehan kahit nasa kalagitnaan pa lamang ang nasabing pelikula. Idagdag pa ang espesyal na partisipasyon ng isa sa pinakamahusay na aktres ng pelikulang Pilipino na si Zsa Zsa Padilla sa istorya bilang ina ni Gerald. Nakapagtataka lamang na sa kabila ng tagumpay na nakamit ng kanilang teleseryeng “Tayong Dalawa” na kanila na namang pinagsamahan at sa direksyon na din ni Ruel Bayani, hindi pa rin naging kasing bigat ng ibang mga pelikulang pang pag-ibig ang “Paano na Kaya”.

Maaaring isa sa posibleng dahilan ay ang madaliang paggawa ng istorya para sa dalawa na isinabay na din sa kanilang namamayagpag na kasikatan. Lalo na at katatapos pa lamang ng kanilang naunang teleseye at kasisimula naman ng pinakabago nilang programa sa telebisyon, ang “Kung Tayoý Magkakalayo”. Ang ganitong uri ng pelikula ay maaaring maikonsidera na hindi na higit na pinagisipan pa sa dahilang marami naman na ang tagasubaybay ng mga bidang sina Kim at Gerald. Ibig sabihin lang ay kahit ano pa ang istoryang ipalabas at kanilang pagbidahan ay tiyak pa ding panonoorin ng kanilang mga tagahanga pati na ng maraming kabataan. Malaki din ang naitulong ng suportang ibinibigay sa kanila ng ABS-CBN pati na ng Star Cinema kung kaya’t sila ay parating nakikita sa telebisyon para ipaganiyaya ang kanilang pelikula.

Sa kabuuan, hindi naman masasabing walang kahit anong buti ang pelikulang ito sa panlasa ng mga manonood. Hindi ka lang dapat umasa ng higit sa maaari mong maisip lalo na at napanood mo ang kanilang dati at kasalukuyang teleserye na may maganda at kakaibang istorya. Ang nagdala pa din ng pelikula ay ang kakayahan ng dalawa na umarte at bigyang hustisya ang karakter na kanilang ginagampanan. Maaaring masabi pa din ng sinumang nakapanood ng pelikula na kung maganda lang ang istorya at panulat ay papatok pa din itong tiyak sa takilya.

(Vida Llevares is a freelance writer who writes for the Diliman Diary. She is currently based in Cebu City)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

U.P. Officials Remain in Administrative Limbo as Board of Regents Members dispute facts of January 29 Meeting


(Japanese Oiginal Poster of "Rashomon" released on 
August 25, 1950 in Japan. Source: http://www.wikipedia.org)

By Chanda Shahani

The 1950's Japanese cult classic film, "Rashomon" is about the rape of a woman and the apparent murder of her samurai husband through the widely differing accounts of four witnesses, including the rapist and even a narrative through a medium representing a dead man. The stories are mutually contradictory, leaving the viewer to determine which, if any, is the truth as the story unfolds in a series of flashbacks as the four characters recount the events of one afternoon in a grove.

But now in 2010, some 3,000 kilometers away from Japan at the University of the Philippines (U.P.) at Diliman, several U.P. officials are being left in administrative limbo as members of the U.P. Board of Regents (BOR) perform their own version of "Rashomon." Some regents are disputing the assertion of U.P. President Emerlinda Roman that the BOR actually met at 9:00 a.m. as a corporate body on January 29, 2010, constituted a quorum and proceeded to vote to remove the eligibility of Student Regent Charisse B. Bañez to participate in BOR proceedings on the premise that she is no longer a U.P. Student and therefore no longer a Student Regent. All of this supposedly took place before several Regents walked out.

This version is being disputed by other Regents who say that the walkout itself removed any possibility of a quorum and consequently, any ballotting to remove the Student Regent never took place due to the lack of a quorum. If Roman's version holds sway, then the implication is that Bañez's votes on any issue from December 18, 2009 onwards would no longer be valid, as she was no longer a Student Regent on that date. If the dissenting Regents' version carries the day, then Bañez remains on board as a voting member of the BOR.

50,000 STUDENTS, PGH DIRECTOR AFFECTED

One potential casualty in this debate would be the more than 50,000 U.P. students who would be deprived of a representative in the BOR, as personified by the Student Regent. Republic Act 9500, or the Charter of the University of the Philippines requires that there shall be one Student Regent chosen by the students from their ranks in accordance with the rules and qualifications approved in a referendum by the students.

Another potential casualty would include the legitimacy and binding selection of U.P. Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Executive Director Dr. Carlos C. Gonzales who was chosen by a vote of six (6) to five (5) over by the BOR last December 18, 2009 over outgoing Executive Director Carlos Alfiler. The potential elimination of Bañez's vote as a bona fide voting member of the BOR creates a real dilemma for Quezon Hall because it would result in a hung jury of five (5) remaining votes for Gonzales and five (5) votes for Alfiler and could reverse a de facto acknowledgement by Quezon Hall, published by on U.P. own website at: (http://www.up.edu.ph/features.php?i=176) that Gonzales is the Executive Director of PGH which is based on the premise that six (6) and not five (5) Regents voted for him.

On the one hand, if Quezon Hall continues to maintain that Gonzales remains the Executive Director, then it also impliedly acknowledges the legitimacy of Bañez's vote as a Student Regent which contradicts its other claims, also on the U.P. website, that Bañez is no longer a U.P. Student or a Student Regent. On the other hand, by pushing its own interpretation of existing rules to remove Bañez, Quezon Hall could be seen as setting the stage to undermine a majority decision of the BOR for Gonzales by implementing President Roman's yet-unacted-upon January 5, 2010 memo installing U.P. Manila Chancellor Ramon L. Arcadio as Officer-in-Charge of PGH (please see Diliman Diary, February 5, 2010).

Roman has not officially declared whom she voted for in the December 18, 2009 balloting for the PGH Executive Director Position. According to the Manila Times.Net (http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/top-stories/8673-new-pgh-director-takes-oath-of-office) those who voted for Dr. Gonzales were Student Regent Charisse Bañez, Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo, Alumni Regent Alfredo Pascual and Admin Staff Regent Cabrera. Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd also sent a written vote in favor of Gonzales.

Alfiler, however, received votes from U.P. President Roman, as well as Regents Abraham Sarmiento, Nelia Gonzales and Francis Chua and Rep. Cynthia Villar of Las Piñas City through a letter.

PRESIDENT ROMAN'S VERSION OF EVENTS

In the meantime, Dr. Silverio Cabellon, Chairman of the The University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society of America (UPMASA) forwarded to the Diliman Diary an email to him by President Roman dated February 8, 2010 claiming that, “In the last meeting of the Board (January), there was still a quorum when the decision to disqualify the Student Regent was made. This can be attested by the Secretary of the Board.”

An email sent by the Diliman Diary to the Facebook Account of the Secretary of the University, Dr. Lourdes Abadingo, on February 12 asked Dr. Abadingo “if there was a quorum when the decision to disqualify the Student Regent was made. Is this claim ... accurate in view of the fact that there was supposed to have been a walkout by some Regents resulting in no quorum at all? On behalf of our readers a clarification on this question would be very much appreciated.” To date, there has been no reply by Dr. Abadingo to the Diliman Diary independently confirming the claims of President Roman.

OTHER REGENTS HAVE DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS

Other regents are openly disputing Roman's claims that the BOR met on January 29 and voted to disqualify the Student Regent before four regents walked out resulting in a lack of a quorum. These regents were: Faculty Regent, U.P. Professor Judy M. Taguiwalo, Staff Regent Clolualdo E. Cabrera, Alumni Regent Alfredo E. Pascual, and Student Regent Bañez.

According to Staff Regent Cabrera in a February 12, 2010 email sent to Dr. Cabellon, the BOR never voted to disqualify Bañez: “Gud am! Bago ako lumabas ng BOR room natitiyak ko na walang naganap na botohan para idisqualify ang student regent sa nakaraang Jan. 29, BOR meeting.”

A more detailed account of what happened was given by Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo on January 31, 2010:

“The BOR meeting started with CHED Chair Angeles presiding. President Roman, Malacanang- appointed Regents Sarmiento, Chua, and Gonzales, Alumni Regent Pascual, Staff Regent Cabrera, Student Regent Bañez and myself were present.”

“The agenda of the meeting was approved with the inclusion of the UP Cebu High School issue in other matters. The minutes of the December 18 BOR meeting was also approved.”

“The first item placed on the agenda for discussion was the protest of Regent Sarmiento dated January 29, 2010. Regent Sarmiento protested the election of Jose Gonzales as PGH Director on the grounds that “The Student Regent is not only under suspension but is in fact not a student as defined by the University. Ms. Bañez tried to register for the second semester but (sic) was only on November 17, 2009 that she tried to register…… “

“We, the Sectoral Regents and the Alumni Regent, were not against discussing the current status of the Student Regent prior to deliberating on the matters on the agenda for the January 29, 2010 meeting. But we found it highly irregular that the question on the status of the Student Regent during the December 18 meeting, which had already been decided was being revisited for the purpose of nullifying the election of Dr. Gonzales as PGH Director.”

“The irregularity of the protest on the status of the Student Regent by Regent Sarmiento tying it with the election of the PGH Director, who was not the choice of President Roman, Regent Sarmiento, Regent Gonzales and Regent Chua, is better understood by what occurred after the December 18 meeting. The term of outgoing PGH Director Alfiler was to end on December 31, 2009. There was no issuance of the appointment of university officials right after the BOR meeting on December 18, when previous BOR decisions on appointments were announced on the same day as the BOR meetings (e.g. October 21 OSU Memorandum on Appointment of University Officials and November 23 OSU Memorandum on Appointment of University Officials). When I inquired about this failure to issue a similar memorandum on the December 18 decisions of the BOR on the appointment of University Officials, the Secretary of the University said that because it was the last working day of the year, the issuance would be made on January 4, 2010. This clarification was not consistent with the fact that the December 18 decision of the BOR on the appointment of UP Artists was posted on the UP official website on December 18 itself.”

“The memorandum on the appointments of new university officials made during the December 18 meeting came out only on January 4. Early on that day, Dr. Gonzales was informed by the UP Manila Chancellor that he (Dr. Gonzales)would take his oath of office at 2:00 pm of January 4. But prior to the scheduled oath-taking, the UP Manila Chancellor sent a message to Dr. Gonzales that his oath was reset for January 5 as President Roman wanted to meet with them in Diliman that afternoon. There was neither an oath taking on January 5 because on that day President Roman issued Memorandum No. PERR-2010-001, appointing Chancellor Ramon L. Arcadio as Officer-in-Charge of PGH. The Sectoral Regents immediately issued a statement dated January 6 protesting the deliberate refusal of President Roman to install Dr. Jose C. Gonzales as PGH Director, duly elected by the Board of Regents. There was an emergency meeting held at the Manila Hotel in the afternoon of January 6 attended by Chairman Angeles, President Roman, Chancellor Arcadio and Dr. Gonzales. At noon time of January 7 at the height of the protests of PGH personnel, medical students and staff against the refusal to install Dr. Gonzales as Director, the formal notification of appointment of Dr. Gonzales dated December 18, 2009 was sent to the UP Manila Chancellor. At two in the afternoon of that day, Dr. Gonzales took his oath before the Chancellor with other university officials and staff of PGH in attendance.”

“One cannot but surmise, given these series of events, that some very powerful people are intent on preventing the installation of Dr. Gonzales as PGH Director. The protest of Regent Sarmiento was clearly aimed at nullifying the election of the PGH Director but it has been overtaken by events. The fact is Dr. Gonzales has taken his oath of office for a fixed term of three years and has actually discharged his duties for more than three weeks. He cannot be removed or suspended except for cause as provided by law. Moreover, an appointment once made and completed, is not subject to reconsideration or revocation.”

“When a Regent moved for a vote supporting Regent Sarmiento’s protest against the Student Regent’s participation in the December 18, 2009 meeting and nullifying the appointment of Dr. Gonzales, the Staff Regent, Alumni Regent, Student Regent and I protested. But there was no more room for discussion as one of the Regents insisted on putting an end to more talk and to proceed to the voting. I asked for a break and conferred with the other Sectoral Regents and the Alumni Regent. We discussed the consequences of participation in the unlawful removal of an elected University official, without cause and without due process, as proposed by Regent Sarmiento, and the subsequent election of another PGH director in spite of the fact that the post is not vacant. I decided that I could not countenance being part of a process which was clearly aimed at reversing the decision on the choice of the PGH Director made last December and which could be considered illegal. It left me physically ill. I opted to leave the meeting.”

“The Staff Regent, Student Regent and Alumni Regent after a while also left leaving the meeting without a quorum.”

“We are open to deliberating on the status of the Student Regent but it should not be used to overturn a decision not palatable to the powers that be.”

“Let me reiterate: we, the Sectoral Regents and the Alumni Regent, were open to a discussion of the current status of the Student Regent prior to deliberating on the matters on the agenda for the January 29 meeting. But what we found highly irregular was that the question on the status of the Student Regent involved the nullification of decisions of December 18, in particular the selection of the PGH Director, undermining the integrity of decision-making processes in our institution.”

“Our university faces a range of burning issues which we as Regents, through our collective wisdom, must deliberate and decide on. But we must do so with the highest respect for due process and respect for decisions, especially on appointments, arrived at by the Board even in the rare case that the decision goes against the wishes of the highest executive official within or outside UP.”

THE UNIVERSITY STUDENT COUNCIL OF U.P. DILIMAN ISSUES A STATEMENT

The University Student Council of U.P. Diliman said in a February 5 statement that, “Currently, even President Roman and the Malacanang appointees in the BOR have their own interests in making the SR position vacant. They have currently cited the ratified CRSRS to discredit our SR (Student Regent), but we must not forget that nine months ago, they had explicitly violated the same document when they kept our SR from representing us in the Board for two months. They have proven to us that they can implement the rules when it suits them; they disregard the same rules when it is in conflict with their interests.”

“Their interests lies in the Directorship of the Philippine General Hospital and the micro-privatization of PGH. The PGH Directorship became a highly-contested position during the BOR vote-casting last December 2009, such that some members of the BOR who lost in the vote tried to move to rescind and invalidate the decision to appoint Dr. Jose Gonzales as the new PGH Director, in order to field their own bet. Pres. Roman even issued a memorandum in January to hold the oath-taking of Dr. Gonzales but was defeated by the mass movement in UP Manila. Now, despite the decision of the BOR to permit our SR to participate and vote in the December BOR meeting, they are now moving to invalidate all BOR decisions since November where our SR have participated, including the votation for the PGH Directorship.”

“The ill motives are clearly laid down in front of us. We shall be disenfranchised of our right to representation as Ms. Bañez is attacked and discredited just so the few can secure their interests in the BOR. This move from the administration to discredit our SR is a curtailment of our right to genuine representation as they are aware that Ms. Bañez does not have a successor and that the GASC (General Assembly of Student Councils) shall not convene until April 2010 to select a new SR.”

“They have proven once again, that for the powers that be led by Pres. Roman and the Malacañang bloc, self-interest gains more weight than our fundamental right to be represented. They have committed a grave disrespect not only to Ms. Banez and the institution she represents, but as well as to the University that expects a transparent and democratic governance from its administration.”

OTHER U.P. OFFICIALS AFFECTED BY BOR FALLOUT

Other issues affected by a successful removal of Bañez that could potentially result in a hung jury, according to Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo are the selection of a new Chancellor for U.P. Mindanao and the appeal to the BOR by U.P. Diliman Sociology Professor Sarah Raymundo for tenure after her appeal was previously turned down by President Roman and U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao.

U.P. ADMINISTRATION CITES CONDITIONS FOR STUDENT REGENT SLOT VACANCY BUT DOES NOT CLEARLY ESTABLISH INCAPACITY

On February 4, 2010 the U.P. administration said in the U.P. website with a headline entitled, “Further clarifications on the issue of the Student Regent and other matters” that Bañez was not qualified to sit as Student Regent:

“There is no irregularity involved here. Regent Sarmiento had indicated his intention to file the protest as early as December. The protest was included in the agenda of the January 29 meeting. This Agenda was unanimously approved by the Board. It therefore came as a surprise to the rest of the Board when some regents chose to leave the meeting when the protest was being taken up, resulting in the absence of a quorum.”

“… As of 29 January 2010, Ms. Bañez has not enrolled for residency and is not on leave of absence. She is not a bona fide student of the University, as defined by the CRSRC, and thus not qualified to sit as Student Regent, an Office whose occupant, under the UP Charter, must come from the ranks of the students.”

U.P.’s website said that in 2009, the students overwhelmingly ratified the Codified Rules for Student Regent Selection (CRSRS) through a referendum called for the purpose.

Article I, section 6 of the CRSRS defines a bona fide student as one who is “taking up academic units for bachelor’s degree, masters’ degree, doctorate degree, non-degree (sic), or certificate courses in the university, including those who are on residency status or on leave of absence (LOA).” Article III, section 1 provides, as part of the qualifications to be nominated, current enrollment at the time of his/her nomination. Article IX, section 7 provides for grounds to consider the position of SR-elect or the incumbent SR vacant, to wit:
  • permanent disqualification from the university;
  • incapacity to enroll or file an LOA the following semester (underscoring supplied by the U.P. website
  • death, illness or any other cause which prevents him/her from discharging functions
But clearly, Bañez has not been permanently disqualified from the University which is a specific act known as “dropping a student from the rolls,” and requires the Secretary of a student’s college to undertaken the necessary action. If this had already occurred, then U.P. would have cited this as one of the conditions currently existing in the case of Bañez in order for the position of Student Regent to be declared vacant.

Additionally, the mere fact that Bañez showed up for the January 29, 2010 BOR meeting and had the necessary energy to participate in a “principled walkout,” along with other Regents showed that she was neither conclusively dead nor so grossly ill such that she was not able to discharge her functions as a BOR member.

The bone of contention rests on the second condition being cited by the U.P. administration which says that Bañez’s “incapacity to enroll or file an LOA the following semester” necessarily leads to her disqualification. However the burden of proof rests on the U.P. administration through U.P.’s Legal Office to show that the condition of “incapacity” existed in the case of Bañez. One well-known online dictionary defines the legal term of incapacity as "the quality or state of being incapable; especially: lack of physical or intellectual power or of natural or legal qualifications (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incapacity). Additionally, while the CRSRS requires that a student be currently enrolled at the time of nomination, it is not clear about what the Student Regent's status must be during the entire term of the Student Regent's incumbency. This is a grey area leading to a possible test case.

Moreover the mere fact that Bañez has not been dropped from the rolls of the University which means that she is still a U.P. student nor had any pre-existing mental or physical conditions that would render her unfit to function as a regent highlights the challenge that U.P.'s legal department faces to credibly justify the U.P. administration's policy to remove the Student Regent as a U.P. student and as a regent

Bañez has also filed an application and appeal for Residency and then an LOA, both pending the approval of the UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco even before the January 29 BOR meeting. Contrary to the claims of the UP administration, Bañez says that she has never withdrew her application for residency.


Announcement: White Hat + Ateneo Blue Eagles for Ahon Foundation


Drop by The White Hat in Shangri-la Mall and have your frozen yogurt served by your favorite Blue Eagles.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to AHON (Acts of Hope for the Nation) Foundation to build more libraries for public schools.

Date: Saturday, February 13, 2010

City or Province: NCR - NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION

Saturday, February 6, 2010

One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: U.P. Faculty Regent releases Copy of Roman memo on UP PGH Director


(To enlarge the picture just click on it)
(Source: Faculty Regent Judy Taguiwalo)

By Chanda Shahani

It's now confirmed. Quezon Hall tried to very aggressively reverse the selection by the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Board of Regents (BOR) of Dr. Jose C. Gonzales last December 18, 2009 as the next Executive Director of the Philippine General Hospital (U.P. PGH) by appointing an OIC and justifying the removal of a critical vote in favour of Dr. Gonzales – that of Student Regent Charisse B. Bañez – by claiming that she is neither a U.P. student nor a U.P. Student Regent.

This has elicited a firestorm of protest from several quarters, resulting in a flip-flopping by Quezon Hall on its attempt to appoint an OIC to replace Dr. Gonzales.

The Diliman Diary has just received a copy of Memorandum No. PERR-2010-001, issued by U.P. President Emerlinda R. Roman dated January 5, 2010, appointing Chancellor Ramon L. Arcadio as Officer-in-Charge of PGH (please see picture). This memo was emailed by Faculty Regent Judy M. Taguiwalo to the Diary.

An interpretation of the memo would show that BOR Chairman Eduardo Y. Angeles summersaulted on his tie-breaking vote cast in favour of Dr. Gonzales after the BOR received a December 23, 2009 letter of protest from Regent Abraham Sarmiento questioning Bañez's eligibility to vote as a Regent. Angeles did this by asking Roman to appoint Dr. Arcadio as PGH OIC, as the memo claims.

Adding to this deadly brew are two public statements posted by the U.P. Administration on its website – one on January 29, 2010 and the other on February 4, 2010 which openly challenge the legitimacy of the U.P. Student Regent. Observers question the timing of the public statements as they were both issued before the BOR had a chance to constitute a quorum to decide on the December 18 protest of Regent Abraham Sarmiento questioning Bañez's eligibility to vote as a Regent.

Bañez's vote is being seen as especially critical in the selection of the new Executive Director of PGH, as the term of office of the outgoing Executive Director, Dr. Carmelo Alfiler, expired last December 31, 2009. The BOR voted by a vote of six (6) to five (5) to select Dr. Gonzales

Last January 29, four Regents walked out of a BOR meeting set to discuss the protest of Regent Sarmiento, among other issues. These regents were: Faculty Regent, U.P. Professor Judy M. Taguiwalo, Staff Regent Clolualdo E. Cabrera, Alumni Regent Alfredo E. Pascual, and Student Regent Bañez. The walkout resulted in a lack of quorum, forcing the postponement of the meeting.

Faculty Regent Taguiwalo informed the Diliman Diary in an email that the December 18, 2009 BOR meeting resulted in a unanimous BOR decision to vote for the appointment of U.P. Artists. However, Bañez's vote is seen as being critical in other unresolved issues. “There are a number of pending concerns in the BOR which could go through the division of the house. These include the appointment of a new UP Mindanao Chancellor where there are two nominees including the incumbent and of course the appeal of (U.P. Diliman Sociology) Professor Sarah Raymundo.” Raymundo is appealing to the BOR the decision of President Roman denying her tenure.

The attempt by Quezon Hall to remove Bañez's eligibility to vote has come to symbolize the lack of a voice that U.P. students have in running the university.

An editorial of the Philippine Collegian, the official student newspaper of U.P. Diliman said that “we cannot afford not to have a student representative.”

“The delay in her (Bañez's) residency application notwithstanding, Bañez was democratically selected through a fair and democratic process by the students of the university. She was a student enrolled at the university at the time of her nomination, and has sought to remain so, though UPLB (U.P. Los Baños) has denied her LOA request. Most importantly — though other members of the BOR may not agree — she has a proven “track record reflective of [her] commitment to serve the university.”

“If the only “solution” to the resolution to the problems concerning Bañez’s status as a student is to remove the SR, we reject it. If the BOR refuses to let our representative into its hallowed halls, then we the students will stand at the fringes of the seat of power, outside every BOR meet held without an SR, to assert, defend, and uphold our rights and welfare.”

An Open Letter to the BOR from UP Faculty, Students, REPS and Staff dated January 29, 2010 and entitled “The University in Crisis” said that,

“A crisis is well underway when people who make up an institution are responsibly aware of shared values that facilitate the attainment of their common goals and recognize that the same values are threatened. The issues being raised by various sectors in the different constituent units of the University of the Philippines System are sufficiently alarming for they cast considerable doubt on the UP Administration's commitment to good governance and democratization.”

“The Large Lecture Class Scheme (LLCS) which converts the regular class size of every General Education subject from 30-40 to 150-200 in UP Los Banos will be effective by the first semester of AY 2010-2010 according to a memorandum released by Chancellor Luis Velasco on January 4, 2009. This decision was arrived at without substantive and participative consultation with students and faculty. The LLCS has ushered in the largest, most relentless opposition in UPLBs recent history.”

“In January 14, 2009, Dean Enrique Avila of UP Visayas Cebu College (UPVCC) announced the suspension of the UP Visayas Cebu High School (UPVCHS) admission test in consonance with his proposal to phase out the secondary institution. The reason for this drastic move is UPVCC's bid for becoming an autonomous constituent unit of UP, hence the need to rechannel resources.”

“Both cases reveal the setbacks of commercialization espoused by the Roman Administration and the violation of the principles of democratic governance which the University is supposed to uphold. When proposals are turned to decisions made behind closed doors, and when the same decisions bear the effect of the abolition of educational institutions in the case of UPVCC and the contractualization of labor or even job loss for the untenured faculty; and the steady decline of general education on account of large class size in the case of UPLB, any university aiming for survival must rethink its dogmatic commitment to rationalization schemes.”

If Quezon Hall succeeds in removing Bañez as a voting Regent, then the position effectively remains vacant resulting in a realignment of the vote within the BOR as the Chairman of the BOR, Eduardo Y. Angeles, only votes in order to break a tie in a vote. If Bañez is removed, then the number of votes in favour of former PGH Executive Director Alfiler are five (5) and the votes for Executive Director Gonzales are four, considering that Chairman Angeles would only vote in the event of a tie, which would no longer be present.

The memo of President Roman states that the issuance of the appointment of Dr. Gonzales has been held in abeyance. This, however is belied by the facts on the ground. By all indications, Dr. Gonzales remains as U.P. PGH Executive Director – for now.

Despite the memo of President Roman, the website of the U.P. administration (http://www.up.edu.ph/) came out with a special feature on February 6, 2010 and entitled, “Normal Operations as Usual at PGH, says UP Manila Chancellor.” The feature said that:

“The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) is conducting normal operations, contrary to a GMANews.TV online report stating that the directorship row is paralyzing the country’s biggest government tertiary hospital. PGH is a unit under the general supervision of UP Manila.”

“UP Manila Chancellor Ramon Arcadio clarified that new PGH Director Jose Gonzales has been given a full appointment with a term that started January 1, 2010 to end on December 31, 2012. On January 7, Gonzales took his oath before Chancellor Arcadio in the presence of the UP Faculty and Staff Regents, UP Manila officials, and members of the All UP Workers Union. Prior to this oath taking, Gonzales was sworn in by UP Board of Regents Chair Emmanuel Angeles on December 21, 2009.”

“Gonzales was also informed by the Secretary of the University and the Board of Regents (BOR) that on Dec. 23, 2009, a Regent filed a letter of protest in connection with the selection of the PGH Director. This issue will be subsequently resolved by the BOR.”

“Since assuming his post, the new PGH director is fulfilling his regular duties. He nominated the hospital’s deputy directors whose appointments were approved by Chancellor Arcadio. They are Dr. Charlotte Chiong for Health Operations, Dr. Reynaldo Ang for Administration, Dr. Virgilio Novero for Fiscal Services, and Ms. Rita Tamse for Nursing Operations.”

“The process of appointing the chairs of the hospital’s 14 clinical departments is ongoing. Gonzales and UP College of Medicine Dean Alberto Roxas started interviewing nominees February 3. The new department chairs are expected to be appointed shortly.”

“Gonzales has also been attending usual activities at the university and the hospital, such as flag ceremonies, meetings, receiving visitors and gracing other events.”

“Every three years when a new director takes over, a transition period takes place when an outgoing director gives way to the incoming one. This is normal in any institution with or without a controversy,” the chancellor explained. “This is also the time when the new members of the executive team are appointed in preparation for a planning seminar to chart the institution’s thrusts and directions,” he added.

The chancellor also stated that, contrary to reports, patient services in all units of the hospital were never halted as a result of the controversy over the directorship.”

Dr. Gonzales is a renowned thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon and was the former Chair of the PGH Department of Surgery in 2001-2004. He is a member of the UP College of Medicine Alumni Class of 1972. He was former Director of the Regionalization Program of the UP College of Medicine.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Empire Strikes Back: The U.P. Administration Breaks its Recent Silence on the Issue of the Student Regent



                    Darth Vader: “You Don’t Know the Power of the Dark Side!”
                               From: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

Editor's Note:

In line with its policy of balanced coverage, the Diliman Diary is posting below the official and unedited statement of the University of the Philippines (U.P.) Administration with respect to the issue of the Student Regent Charisse B. Bañez as posted on its website at http://www.up.edu.ph/ on February 4, 2010. We have given equal coverage to the proponents of the eligibility of Student Regent Bañez to vote in earlier posts.

We do so, because our readers would require nothing less and would want nothing but access to as much information as possible before making up their minds on this burning issue which has consequences on other issues that are up for decision by the U.P. Board of Regents.  Thus the single question of the eligibility of Student Regent Bañez to vote in the last BOR meeting dated December 18, 2009 and subsequent BOR meetings thereafter will have a large impact in view of the fact that the potential elimination of Bañez's eligibility to vote effectively amounts to a hung jury in the selection and thus appointment of Dr. Jose C. Gonzales as Executive Director of U.P. PGH.

Considering that six (6) Regents including Bañez voted for the selection of Dr. Gonzales, and five (5) Regents voted for outgoing PGH Executive Director Dr. Carmelo Alfiler, then if Bañez's elimination is sustained upon appeal and beyond the U.P. Executive Department's mere say-so, then the vote is now 5-5 and the conditions exist for Quezon Hall to unilaterally appoint another individual who did not necessarily win the original vote.

However, questions have been raised that if Bañez would be eliminated as a voting member of the BOR; would this not also invalidate the appointment of 27 individuals who were recommended for the rank of U.P. Artist as approved by the BOR on December 18, 2009? The answer to this rests on how many Regents voted in favour of the U.P. Artists and this needs clarification. Another issue that remains unresolved with the existence of what effectively amounts to a hung jury within the BOR is the pending appeal of U.P. Diliman Department of Sociology Sarah Raymundo to the BOR for tenure after this appeal was denied by U.P. President Emerlinda Roman and U.P. Diliman Chancellor Sergio Cao.

The Diliman Diary will continue to provide updates to this story as it continues to develop.

FEBRUARY 4, 2010 STATEMENT:


FURTHER CLARIFICATIONS ON THE ISSUE OF THE STUDENT REGENT AND RELATED MATTERS


Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Student Regent and the Issue of Due Process

A question has been raised to the effect that the Student Regent was deprived of due process when the issue of her qualification to continue as Student Regent was taken up by the Board of Regents in its December 18, 2009 meeting.

During this meeting the BOR Chair asked Ms. Charisse Bañez whether she was enrolled for the second semester 2009-2010. She replied that she wasn’t. She was then asked why she had not enrolled, and she replied that she was in Manila at the time and could not go to UP Los Baños because of her tight schedule.

This meeting took place a month after the deadline for late registration in UP Los Baños (November 17). Clearly therefore, Ms. Bañez was neither enrolled nor on leave of absence during the meeting. These two grounds (plus “permanent disqualification from the University”) constitute the bases for considering the position of Student Regent vacant.

Because she was neither enrolled nor on leave, Ms. Bañez ceased to be a UP student, and therefore ceased to be Student Regent.

There is a precedent for the disqualification of a UP Student Regent. In its 1134th meeting on August 26, 1999, the Board of Regents decided that since Mr. Ferdinand Zafranco had been deemed permanently disqualified from UP for failing all his academic subjects, he ceased to be the Student Regent. He was replaced by Mr. Dennis Longid.


The Protest Filed by Regent Abraham Sarmiento

The protest filed by Regent Abraham Sarmiento has been described as “irregular” because it involves the nullification of the decisions made by the BOR on December 18, including the appointment of the PGH Director.

Before the adjournment of the December 18 meeting, Regent Sarmiento said that he was going to protest the appointment of the PGH Director. It was clear then that the basis for his protest was the Student Regent’s having voted on the matter when in fact she was no longer qualified to be Student Regent.

It has been argued that the Board of Regents decided on her fate when the motion for her to sit as observer was defeated. It is precisely this which is the “prayer” of Regent Sarmiento’s protest letter. This letter reads partially thus:

“I pray accordingly that:

The protest be hereby given due course, and the election of Dr. Jose G. Gonzales as Director of the Philippine General Hospital is hereby declared null and void on the following grounds: that an unqualified person claiming to be the Student Regent, although she is not even a student, Charisse Bañez, was allowed to vote for Dr. Gonzalez giving him winning margin.

The Board declare that the Student Regent be deemed to have ceased, the Student Regent not being a student…”

There is no irregularity involved here. Regent Sarmiento had indicated his intention to file the protest as early as December. The protest was included in the agenda of the January 29 meeting (III, A). This Agenda was unanimously approved by the Board. It therefore came as a surprise to the rest of the Board when some regents chose to leave the meeting when the protest was being taken up, resulting in the absence of a quorum.

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