UP Student Regent was Allowed to Vote in the PGH Directorship Poll

Posted on March 7, 2010



By Maricar Cinco
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:50:00 03/07/2010

SAN PEDRO, LAGUNA—The student regent whose vote is at the center of a directorship row at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) insisted her vote was valid and has filed a motion to stop the University of the Philippines Board of Regents (BOR) from nullifying it.

UP student regent Charisse Bañez said that before the controversial election of the PGH director on Dec. 18, the UP-BOR had deliberated and voted on a motion of UP president Erlinda Roman to revoke her right to vote on the ground that she was not a bona fide student of the state university.

Bañez, who was not enrolled this school year because she had completed her academic requirements ahead of schedule and was awaiting graduation, said the result of the election was 5-4 in favor of allowing her to vote until the issue on her university “residency status” was resolved.

“They agreed to that and participated willingly in that election,” Bañez said, referring to what she called the “Malacañang bloc” composed of Roman and three other regents appointed by President Macapagal-Arroyo, who voted against her right to vote.

In that board election, Dr. Jose Gonzales won by one vote over incumbent hospital director Dr. Carmelo Alfiler to win the PGH directorship.

The century-old PGH is the teaching hospital of the UP College of Medicine.

But on Feb. 25, the BOR decided that Bañez was ineligible to vote and nullified the results of the Dec. 18 election. It called for a new election which resulted in a 6-0 vote for Dr. Enrique Domingo, the hospital’s deputy director for administration.

“It was surprising,” said Bañez, adding that the BOR, on the motion of the “Malacañang bloc,” had removed Domingo from the shortlist of nominees during the first election due to “lack of tenure.”

“They were the ones who took him (Domingo) out (of the list) and now they installed him as director. There is a power play going on inside the BOR,” said Bañez.

“They did not want Jogon (Dr. Jose Gonzales) because he was critical of the P77-million faculty medical arts building,” she said.

It was also Bañez’s turn to question the validity of the votes of the three Malacañang appointees: Their terms as “acting and not regular regents” had already expired.

“They were appointed in 2008. Based on the administrative code of 1987, temporary appointments made by GMA (Ms Arroyo) should not exceed one year. And they (Malacañang appointees) had never mentioned this to us,” she said.

She said Roman later recommended a fixed term of two years for the appointees.

According to the BOR, Bañez, a senior student at UP Los Baños in Laguna, had failed to file an application for residency for the second semester and was therefore not a bona fide student.

Bañez countered that she did file her application forms for residency, albeit a month late in December, because of her many activities as the student regent.

She said the UP administration was only using this technical matter as a “lame excuse” to eject her from the board.

“There were two students at UPLB who filed their residencies as late as Feb. 3 and 16 and their applications were accepted. How come they would not process my papers? That is unfair,” she said.

Article originally published here: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100307-257095/UP-student-regent-I-was-allowed-to-vote-in-PGH-poll

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