Settling students’ distress and SAMAHAN controversies, the Commission on Students’ Rights and Welfare (StRAW) and Student Judicial Court (SJC) expounded their duties and services in the university on the second day of the SAMAHAN Legal Townhall.
StRAW Head Commissioner Mikaela Balagot discussed the roles and responsibilities of StRAW members, one of which is assisting students with their concerns and grievances.
However, Balagot emphasized that “StRAW has no jurisdiction over academic concerns; such concerns shall be addressed to their respective student executive councils.” But, the members are expected to formulate and lead activities and programs for their respective clusters.
In filling concerns and grievances against a SAMAHAN Officer, Assistant Head Commissioner Seth Tangalin explained that students shall submit a report to the Student Judicial Court, with assistance from their respective Cluster StRAW Officer, in compliance with the Court’s guidelines.
“All petitions need to be reviewed by the Commission before they will be forwarded to the Student Judicial Court,” he clarified.
Tangalin stated that the Commission would not intervene unless someone files a complaint or a petition; however, anonymous reports will not be entertained as this violates one’s right to due process.
The Asst. Head Commissioner encouraged students to utilize the Unified StRAW Channel Form “to expedite or ease the process.”
For SJC, Associate Magistrate Edrian Nabos stated that the Court is responsible for protecting, upholding, and enforcing the SAMAHAN Constitution and interpreting and holding SAMAHAN Officers to the Consitution.
The Court offers legal advice, court-related information dissemination, advocacies, and projects. However, according to the Associate Magistrate, “SJC will not assist in making petitions and deciding on behalf of the complainant.”
Nabos also stressed that although the Court is providing assistance, advice, or service, it will not frame the constitution to the benefit of the individual.
Associate Magistrate Niña Sotto illustrated the Court Procedures, which begin with filing a petition that may lead to either Judicial Review or Preliminary Investigation.
“Judicial review is mainly focused on declarations and policies by the SAMAHAN,” Sotto said.
On the other hand, the Preliminary Investigation process takes almost 14 days, including deliberating the petition’s validity, crafting the decision of the complaint’s validity, issuing the decision and notice of hearing, filing motions, and gathering and submitting and submitting additional witnesses and evidence.
Clerk of Court Shylloe Planas also presented the SAMAHAN Map that involves the SAMAHAN Offices and Legislative and Judiciary Branches.
Although the Council of Class Presidents, Commission on Audit, Commission on Election, and Commission on Students’ Rights and Welfare are independent bodies, they are still connected according to Planas.
The first SAMAHAN Legal Townhall was held via Zoom last October 3 and 5.