What the Silliman University Student Government (SUSG) Committee on Impeachment has committed was an obvious negligence of duty.
Last Sep. 8, the committee called for a supposed impeachment trial against nursing representative Ara Francine Tam, who allegedly committed three consecutive unexcused absences in the SUSG Assembly.
However, the session was dismissed when a juridical adviser of Tam called the trial “unconstitutional.”
According to the SUSG constitution, a written complaint signed by at least one-fourth of the total members of the Student Assembly or 12 percent of the total members of the SUSG is required before an impeachment trial can take place.
The Impeachment Committee, whose one job is to facilitate impeachment trial, was not able to submit the document prerequisite to the trial.
Leo Maputi, Impeachment Committee Chair, said that they only based their procedures mostly on the impeachment guidelines. He admitted that they weren’t aware of their lapse prior to the proceedings.
the Weekly Sillimanian believes that what Maputi and his committee has done is a mistake that could have been avoided only if there were clear impeachment guidelines that do not contradict with the SUSG constitution.
According to the SUSG Assembly Committee on Impeachments- Impeachment Guidelines, the committee, upon identification or detection of an impeachable action or offense, or receiving complaint thereof, done by any member of the SUSG, the Committee on Impeachment, upon preliminary review, present a report before the SUSG Assembly to seek for approval to conduct an Impeachment Trial.
That provision in the impeachment guidelines does not necessarily support what the constitution stated.
For clarity purposes, any guideline in the SUSG should adhere to and does not contradict with the SUSG constitution. This is true not only for the impeachment committee but to the rest of the committee in the SUSG.
Moreover, tWS believes that Maputi and his committee should have at least revisited (if in the very first place they had read and understood well) the guidelines and the constitution before rushing to convene for an impeachment trial.
tWS hopes that the reason why Maputi and his committee were in a rush to convene a trial without making sure that they were taking the right procedure is not driven by personal intention for the benefit of one party but for the better functioning of the SUSG Assembly.
Had Maputi and his committee been confused about the guidelines, they should have sought advice from a legal adviser before wasting time and effort that could have been spent on other things for the betterment of the assembly and the student body.
On the other hand, the alleged impeachability of Tam as a nursing representative to the SUSG assembly must be a message to all representatives to fulfill religiously their duties and obligations to their respective constituents.
You were elected via democratic election because the students believed in your strength and capacities in making their college life worthwhile.
The mistake of the Impeachment Committee is not an excuse for you, the members of the SUSG assembly, to take your positions for granted.
For what the SUSG committee on impeachment has done and the reason why Tam is impeachable is clearly an example of negligence of duty.