“The specter is haunting UPV, the specter of Bribery”
This is to quote one statement regarding the recent issue of attempted bribery of one of the Student Councils here in UP Visayas by an unofficial political alliance of few blue political organizations across the UP System.
The act happened last December during the General Assembly of Student Councils held here in Miagao. The said political alliance, through some UPV affiliates, offered Php2,000.00 to the Chairperson of that Student Council and a refund on the registration fee of each of the council’s representative. In return, the council should vote for the proposed amendments of the former to the Codified Rules on the Selection of the Student Regent (CRSRS).
These amendments are as follow:
1. minimum grade requirement for the SR nominees.
2. one council one vote
3. removal of the KASAMA sa UP in the selection of SR
During our election campaigns, we are making it clear to the students why there are contentions about these amendments.
First, who said that your grades can define your leadership skills and the service you can offer to your constituents? Yeah, it’s a matter of Honor and Excellence, however, in my own opinion, having a great ability to memorize and to perfect an exam which is only 10% of the whole coverage is not equated to a genuine leadership. What matters most is your plan as well as your concrete actions to uphold the rights of the studentry.
Second, one council one vote? In this case, UP Visayas having only 5 colleges would only have 5 votes while other campuses like UP Diliman with 17 colleges would have 17 votes. At the end of the day, we could expect that all the subsequent SRs would be from Diliman. It would minimize the chance of other UP units to be represented in the Board of Regents and would only cater more or less Diliman-centric issues.
Third, as far as I know, back in the 80’s only KASAMA sa UP fought for student representation inside the BOR. Only through their efforts alongside with the students that we are having this privilege to be represented in the highest policy-making body inside the University. And so the idea of removing KASAMA sa UP is like (just to borrow Clyde’s words) saying that Jose Rizal is not our national hero. KSUP has a historical role in selecting the SR and so why take it? Who should uphold the credibility of the selection process? YOU?
Now, let’s go back to the issue of the attempted bribery. Some justified it as lobbying with incentives. In my Political Science 161 class about Political Parties and Interest Organizations, it was stated that one of the effective ways to pursue your cause is through lobbying. However, you could question the morality of lobbying of that political alliance to the student council because of the incentive offered. Is it ethical to “buy” their vote? Is it ethical to promote your amendments through pouring out monetary incentive?
As UP students, considering the fact that UP is said to be the microcosm of the Philippine society, some may say that what happened was just a reflection of what is happening in a larger world; that these acts are vindicated ’cause we can see it done by the elders and as “kids” we think it’s “right” and that as manifested in the wider community we ought to think that politics is dirty therefore we should play dirty too. These acts however are in the list of reasons why our country is still backward, why our country is tagged as one of the poorest and most corrupt states in the world and why there are struggles out there against the unjust system.
We don’t want UP to be as dirty as the Philippine politics and of course to be a breeding ground for future corrupt officials. UP as a the only National University should uphold transparency, integrity and honesty.
I remember back when I was in first year college, in our Political Science 14 class there was what Sir Tom called a debate. It’s not really a debate with a fight or we argue each other, it’s just a question you need to answer and your answer should be based if your a YES-er or a NO-er.
So Raiza (congrats for winning as CASSC Chair) was asked if is it true that UP produces corrupt officials. Raiza was classified as a NO-er and so she answered NO for the reason that UP as a National University only inculcate ideas that are more progressive and more intensive. It does not produce corrupt officials, it produces well-rounded students who know loopholes in the government and who use that knowledge to be corrupt. You couldn’t blame UP for the acts of its graduates. She got a 1.75 grade.
If this is the case, can we not blame the society if UP is like this? Can we not blame UP if there are corrupt organizations inside the institution? Can we not blame that organizations for the deeds of its members?
As for me, we cannot separate the mother from her offspring. We may say that the child may get a lot of ideas outside of the family but there are still natural ideas and natural leanings because of genetics. And so you cannot separate the individual from the society, you cannot separate the individual from his or her organization.
In my opinion,the individuals involved were victims of the ideas inculcated by their political organizations, by what they learn inside the university and what the society taught them. There are always two roads of learning, the right way or the wrong way, as well as there are always two perceptions about the idea, it’s either correct or incorrect.
I can’t say that specifically UP taught that individuals to be corrupt, what I meant was that there are factors inside the university, there are ideas inside the university that was “right” to their perceptions that pushed them to do that.
I condemn that act, I condemn the organization and I condemn the society.
And so I am calling to every students, every organizations, every Filipino people to be as ONE against these corrupt officials, these wrong ideas, and this unjust system.
People of the World UNITE!