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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ang Harrassment sa mga Campus Press at Journalists

Mula noong nag-aaral ako hanggang ngayon patuloy na hinaharass at parang tila ayaw pagsalitain ang mga mamamahayag sa loob ng mga paaralan. patuloy na pinatitikum sila ng mga namamahala ng paaralan upang huwag sabihin ang katotohanan. At eto na naman ang isang isyu ng pananakal sa mga mamamahayag sa kampus...

CEGP condemns adviser-meddling, harassment of Makati Collegian editors

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) denounces in strongest terms the adviser-meddling, violation of the Campus Journalism Act of 1991, and the harassment of editors of the Makati Collegian by the University of Makati administration.

The issue in the Makati Collegian sprung from the administration' s unilateral designation of Dr. Teresa Solero as adviser of the Makati Collegian, in violation of the selection process stipulated in the CJA of 1991. The CJA of 1991 mandates that the incumbent editorial board of the Makati Collegian 'shall make a recommendation of three (3) faculty members, and the administration shall choose a technical adviser from the recommended faculty.' The editorial board, however, was not consulted on the designation.

The Makati Collegian rightfully refused to recognize Dr. Solero as adviser and this was when the University of Makati unleashed its attacks on campus press freedom and the democratic rights of Makati Collegian Editor-in-Chief Jeneffere Buenaventura and members of its editorial board Adora Joy V. Borja (Managing Editor) and Dannilyn C. de Castro (Associate Editor). (Attached herewith is the complainants' complete account of the chronology of events.)

Last February 2008, the University of Makati, upon the order of Dr. Solero, renovated the publication office, making it impossible for Makati Collegian editors and staff to access the publication office. Not long after, Dr. Solero announced the establishment of the Studium Generale Publication (SGP) as the school's official publication to replace the Makati Collegian and rendering it 'defunct'.

What came after were a barrage of unfounded accusations and actions by the University of Makati administration through Dr. Solero:

1. A sudden investigation of alleged complaints by students with regards to the Makati Collegian's financial statements. Said complaints were never appropriately presented to the editorial board and copies were never furnished to them.

The mere fact that the so-called investigation against Buenaventura et al were merely jointly performed by Dr. Solero and Prof. Joselito Mendoza, the so-called designated Investigating Officer of the Studium Generale Publication, is illegal in itself. Firstly, they have no authority to conduct the investigation under Dr. Solero's position as a mere technical adviser. Secondly, investigations should be a result of complaints filed to the student disciplinary committee, which Dr. Solero failed to produce. Thirdly, the respondents (Buenaventura et al) should be properly informed in writing of the nature and cause of the accusations against them. And lastly, the investigation should be conducted by a duly-constituted student disciplinary committee.

Moreover, the Makati Collegian editorial board has also submitted the financial statements for AY 2007-2008, albeit a bit late because of their difficulty to access the publication office. All remaining funds of the publication are still intact and accounted for.

2. Insistence and forceful demand of Dr. Solero for the turnover of publication funds to her (i.e. the remaining funds for AY 2007-2008). The editorial board refused to turn over funds because the legitimacy of the establishment of the SGP is in question. Furthermore, the refusal to turnover funds is perfectly legitimate since the Makati Collegian is STILL the official publication of the university.

3. When the editorial board refused to comply with abovementioned demands, the University of Makati released an order holding the enrolment of Buenaventura. It also allegedly released a memorandum from the Office of the University President stating such an order, but as of press time no such memo had been presented to Buenaventura.

Borja's registration was also cancelled and de Castro's academic credentials were withheld.

4. Of all these, Dr. Solero failed to furnish Buenaventura and the editorial board with pertinent papers and formal written documents to support her accusations and actions. They were also not given the opportunity to air their side on the matter.

The CEGP condemns Dr. Solero and the University of Makati administration' s grave abuse of discretion and authority resulting in the harassment of the Makati Collegian's editors and the eventual closure of the publication.

The CEGP also criticizes Dr. Solero and the University of Makati administration for their deliberate and malicious disregard of due process and legitimate procedures.

The CEGP demands that Buenaventura et al be allowed to enroll. Regardless of accusations against them, the University of Makati does not hold the right, and in fact has no basis, to hold their registration for the present school year.

The CEGP has also already submitted a complaint to the Office of Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino, former CEGP President (1991-1994), requesting for an investigation of the illegal closure of the Makati Collegian, the harassment of its editors, Dr. Solero's violations of the CJA of 1991, and the illegal establishment of the administration- led SGP.

The CEGP likewise urges the office of Makati Rep. Abigail Binay to look into the case. The University of Makati is a local government unit-run university.

The CEGP expresses its fullest support to Buenaventura and the editorial board of the Makati Collegian in their fight against what could be considered as one of the most blatant attacks on campus press freedom and students' democratic rights.

Furthermore, the CEGP scores Dr. Solero for questioning the Guild's concern in this case, accusing its leadership of 'meddling' in behalf of the Makati Collegian editorial board. For the record, the Makati Collegian is a member publication of the CEGP and the Guild willingly extends its support to any members who are under attack.

The CEGP has so far documented 297 cases of campus press freedom violations from 53 respondent campus publications last May. ###

1 comment:

  1. Don'y know what that means but that is one nice drawing!


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