November 9, 2007 3 Comments
This is to file a case against ASSOC. PROF. JAIME DELOS SANTOS, Dean, College of Fine Arts and Design on the basis of directly meddling with the editorial policies of HIRAYA Magazine, which is against the Campus Journalism Act of 1991.
There was a meeting that transpired last November 8, 2007 at the CFAD boardroom, which intention is to clarify some details on a previous letter filed with the Office of the Rector. The meeting was attended by MS. MAILAH BALDEMOR-BALDE, Chairperson of the Painting Department, ASST. PROF. JEAN I. REINTEGRADO, College Secretary, and MS. MA. VICTORIA MORTEL, unofficial adviser of HIRAYA. The said meeting was presided by the Dean.
In the meeting, the dean admitted that he was not aware of the existence of the Campus Journalism Act, and that his intentions to the magazine was to become a PR journal that will embody artworks and good things about CFAD. I have argued that CJA indicates freedom of determination of editorial policy. He still said that they shall check, but the check shall be limited to design.
On the part where we were discussing the appointment of the adviser, the dean began questioning the legitimacy of my appointment as editor in chief. The adviser told the dean that I was recommended by some professors. But the dean also knew that I have an appointment letter signed by the previous editor in chief. I told them as well on the selection process of the EIC. The dean has decided to shelf me since he claims that Ms. Mortel’s recommendation was invalid because her appointment was not renewed, and did not put into consideration the appointment letter signed by the previous editor in chief.
In my opinion, and as I interpret Campus Journalism Act, it is clearly stated in section 4 that:
“…once the publication is established, its editorial board shall freely determine its editorial policies and manage the publication’s funds.”
Editorial policy includes screening of articles, determination of journalistic direction, and selection of editors. The main reason why administrators are prevented from meddling with the editorial policy is to avoid conflict of interest.
Therefore, the appointment letter signed by MR. JONATHAN GAMALINDA, previous editor in chief, stands valid. The fact that he was able to disburse Php 20,000.00 from the journal fund and that he graduated is a proof of his legitimacy. Since he is a legitimate editor in chief, my legitimacy as editor in chief can only emanate from him. Therefore, the only person who can determine my legitimacy is the previous editor in chief, and not the administrators, in this case, the dean. Despite the fact that my appointment letter was not signed by Ms. Mortel, the appointment letter’s veracity stands.
Policies cannot be retroactive. Since I was the one who informed the dean about the law, and with him already recognizing me as editor in chief in several circumstances, there is a clear premeditated action because I have filed a case against him. Assuming that the selection committee is established, it must be effective only until I vacate my position through graduation or resignation. The absence of a selection committee during the time of MR. GAMALINDA is a clear indication of the administrators’ ignorance of the law. And the legality of my appointment becomes stronger.
Also, the dean’s office has unconsciously recognized my position as editor in chief. A clear example is their assigning of an office at the 5th floor upon my request, and my shelfing until the process I suggested to them is in place. I cannot be a victim of the process I have educated them to put in place. In the same manner that they cannot come up with a process which mandate is not in the law and is illegitimate in nature.
Therefore, my appointment is valid because MR. JONATHAN GAMALINDA signed my appointment paper and that he himself recognizes me as editor in chief whose legality emanated from him. The administrators has also recognized my being editor in chief by giving me the office in 5th floor, and giving me access to the office beside the dean’s office. There was no selection committee during his term because the administrators were ignorant of the law.
My removal from office as editor in chief was an invalid action of the dean, since my accountability is not on him, but to the students, to the readers, and to the staff.
On the utilization of the Php 1,350.00 for Adobo Magazine, the dean said that he is going to be responsible for it since he considers it valid because budget office released the fund. It is clearly stated in the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Campus Journalism Act, it is stated in section 6, rule 5 that:
“SEC. 6. Use of Student Publication Funds. – Publication fees,
savings, donations, grants and other funds collected from other
sources for the student publication shall be for its exclusive use.
The money collected shall not be spent for purposes other than those
cited in Section 2 of this Rule. Violation of this rule by the
editorial board, any student-staff, faculty-adviser, and/or school
administrator/official shall be cause for administrative and/or
criminal action against the violator.”
On the matter of taking care and release of funds, it is stated in section 3, rule 5 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Campus Journalism Act that:
“…The publication funds shall be deposited in the account of the
student publication in an authorized depositary bank through at
least two (2) authorized signatories of the editorial board.”
Taking into consideration this clause of the law, the bank is the Office of the Vice Rector for Finance, since the money has been entrusted to the university in good faith. And they become caretakers of the fund. The fund can only be released by the two (2) authorized signatories of the editorial board. The Php 1,350.00 disbursement of the dean is not authorized by the previous editor in chief. And as stated in the law, the dean must be administratively and criminally liable since he is not a caretaker of the fund even if he is dean.
I shall not be relinquishing my position as editor in chief of HIRAYA because I believe that my appointment is valid, and that their removal is invalid. I shall temporarily not hold office in the press room. The dean and other college officials must be educated on the Campus Journalism Act of 1991. I shall only relinquish it if the Office of the Rector tells me to do so.
It is sad for those who are ignorant of the law, since their ignorance is not an excuse to be above the law. And for those who are cognizant and knowledgeable of the law, they must invoke their right.
On the basis of the disbursement of the dean, I pray that he be ADMINISTRATIVELY and CRIMINALLY LIABLE since the disbursement was one not permitted by the Campus Journalism Act. The standards of university laws and policies must be for all, in which such disbursement is not vindicated by his position as dean. To add to it, he is also liable for GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. In the same manner that they should be litigated for ignorance of the law.
It is hereby requested to the Father rector that ASSOC. PROF. JAIME DELOS SANTOS, and ASST. PROF. JEAN I. REINTEGRADO, be preventively suspended from their positions as dean and college secretary while investigations are being held, to prevent them from influencing the investigation.
Also, if the allegations on the funds are proven, that they be ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE according to the standards of the university, in which a criminal case of violation of Campus Journalism Act shall also progress.
JOHN CARLO M. MASAJO
EDITOR IN CHIEF