USC Overrules Plebiscite; Shifts to Constitutional Convention

The University Student Council (USC) President, Mr. Rodjan Fat suspended the Constitutional Plebiscite amidst legal and student body concerns on October 6, 2023.

The University Student Council (USC) executive board, academic and non-academic organization representatives, former student regents, student leaders, and other student bodies gather to lend their time to listen to and address concerns about the USC constitutional amendments. (PHOTO | Mark Joseph Bautista)

“Tinatanggalan natin ng bawat karapatan [ang] bawat estudyante na ibigay ang sarili nilang opinyon based do’n sa constitution,” Hon. Arcos expressed.

The decision to halt the plebiscite came after an open forum that included input from four former student regents and delegates from the student body. Hon. Gil Arcos, the student regent for the academic year 2019-2021, raised concerns about the plebiscite’s legality and called for a public review of the proposed constitution before any voting took place. Ms. Brianne Pasia, Senate President of the Student Congress (SC), also confirmed the lack of required documents and consent from the student body, making it legally questionable.

Hon. Gil Arcos takes the microphone to raise questions regarding the legality of the constitutional convention during the open forum. (PHOTO | Kayeth Celine Entoma)

“Therefore, the plebiscite shall not continue because there [is] no legality for the said plebiscite,” Hon. Arcos stated.

In response to these concerns, Mr. Fat sought clarification on the resolution process, as the current constitution did not provide a clear outline. The amendments had been made internally with the involvement of the Campus Coordinating Council (CCC), the Commission on Student Elections (COSEL), the newly appointed Student Judicial Council (SJC), and the SC.

A representative from the UMak Student Multimedia Organization (USMO) emphasized the need for broader student involvement, as stipulated in Article XVIII of the Constitution.


A representative from USMO expresses concerns about the potential exclusivity of voting in the plebiscite. (PHOTO | Alclarisse Dulcero)

“…it means, and also delegates from the student body, it [is] not an option; they (students) should be here (at the plebiscite),” the representative declared.

Despite his initial opposition to an open discussion, Mr. Fat eventually said that it was vital for discussion, questions, and concerns to be raised in an open forum. Due to the important problems brought up during the open forum, he ultimately concluded that the event was a Constitutional Convention rather than a Constitutional Plebiscite.

“As the USC President and Student Regent for A.Y. 2023-2024, I overruled the Constitutional Plebiscite and have now suspended it,” Mr. Fat formally announced.

Furthermore, the USC President declared that the Constitutional Plebiscite would be rescheduled for the following month to address concerns, gather suggestions, and ensure proper legal procedures are followed.

Written by: Harold James Pajaron and Kz Lyn Aquino, from UMak Student Multimedia Organization