First transgender UP student council chair demands @senmiriam to “leave the students alone”

This is a press release from Student Council Alliance of the Philippines

Student group will push through with surveys
First transgender UP student council chair demands Miriam to “leave the students alone”

The Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) today announced they plan to push through with conducting their survey on Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s trust rating in different colleges and universities in the country.

SCAP recently released last March 26, 2012 a survey on Corona’s trust rating among students from five different colleges and universities. The survey, which was patterned after a similar survey conducted in the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman by the UP Paralegal Society, revealed a strong distrust of Corona among the students.

SCAP Secretary General Gibby Gorres said that the success of the surveys was met with positive reaction from various student councils and governments from different colleges and universities in the country.

“Instead of being deterred by fears that the surveys might be used for partisan purposes, many students in fact requested for such surveys to be conducted in their own schools. Many of them wanted their voices and opinions on the impeachment to be heard. The survey is one way to give the point of view of people whose interests are at stake in this process but who otherwise would not be heard.

According to Gorres the survey was one way for the students to express their opinion and assessment of the current impeachment trial of Corona.

“We believe that the survey has helped in bringing the impeachment trial closer to the students. It has become an invaluable tool in ensuring that the impeachment trial is indeed a political exercise in the sense that the public is also an interested party to the trial. Instead of being passive actors, the students become involved in this important proceeding by learning from it and forming their own opinion about it,” according to Gorres.

Meanwhile, Heart Dino, the University of the Philippines’ first transgender student council chairperson slammed Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s statement that the conduct of surveys on Corona and the impeachment trial is a “contemptuous act.”

Dino also said Santiago, who is a UP alumnus, should leave the students alone. It was reported that Santiago called for the expulsion of UP students who conducted the first student survey on Corona’s trust ratings.

“Karapatan ng mga estudyante ang malayang pagpapahayag at kasama rito ang pag-conduct ng mga surveys,” Dino said.

“Sen. Santiago should stop her bullying antics and leave the students alone. She wants to cite us in contempt and bring us to the court, then by all means, let’s go to the court. We will fight for our rights,” Dino added.

Dino said the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that the conduct of surveys and the publication of their results are protected under the freedom of speech.

“Kaya naman naninindigan kami bilang mga estudyante na walang mali at masama sa aming ginagawang pag-survey,” Dino said.

“And at the end of the day, impeachment trial is a mechanism for us to have checks and balances to our public institutions; at dapat kasama ang mamamayan, ang mga estudyante sa proseso na ito,” Dino ended.

Some 2,010 students from Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), De La Salle University (DLSU), Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU), University of the East (UE) and Tarlac State University (TSU) were surveyed by SCAP this month.

Result of the survey revealed that majority of respondents in four schools showed high distrust for Corona at 78.3 percent in AdDU, 77 percent in UE, 75.4 percent in TSU, 69.3 percent in DLSU and 41 percent in AdMU.

The survey also showed that most of the students said Corona was not fit to remain in his position. It showed that a majority, if not a plurality, of the students held this view with AdMU at 45 percent, DLSU at 63 percent, UE at 56.4 percent, TSU at 76.8 percent and AdDU at 76.7 percent.”

Based on the result of the survey, SCAP asked Corona to open and make public his dollar accounts and testify before the impeachment court, things which the group sachief justice publicly announced that he will do.

The group also called on Corona to take a leave of absence from the Supreme Court.