AUE MALABON ALUMNI ASSOCIATION – DOOMED BEFORE BIRTH
It is rather unfortunate that only days after the Homecoming, I have to bring this sad news myself to the alumni; there has been a miscarriage causing the premature death of our plans for the organization of an Alumni Association. As one of the pioneering proponents (and the most outspoken at that), I am well aware of the sensitive condition of its conception. On the last minutes of its breath, I suggested for a premature delivery. I failed to stand my ground. Hence, I take responsibility in reporting before the alumni the death of a “loved one”… the AUE Malabon Alumni Association dies without seeing the light of day.
THE SENSITIVE CONDITION OF ITS CONCEPTION
Given the circumstances, the Alumni Association that AUE Malabon plans to organize is uniquely different from all other existing associations of its kind. For one, our academic institution has ceased existence. There is no central or controlling authority by which organizers or proponents like me may derive mandate except from the alumni body itself.
While it is true that the law requires only fifteen (15) incorporators (minimum of 5 and maximum of 15) to initiate a corporation (Title II, Sec 10 Corporate Code of the Philippines), the mandate – the power by which virtue confers the authority to act or represent -- of these 5 to 15 incorporators must still be based on something (as in an institutional policy) or derived from someone (as in a majority vote). Note that a single objection on mandate and authority raised by single alumnae will suffice as to render all efforts void ab inito (void from the very beginning).
To say it plainly, the question is as simple as “how can the authority to represent the alumni in initiating a corporation be obtained?”
For one whose vision superficial, the question is neither significant nor even relevant. And to think of it really, who, especially among the alumni would dare question mandate and authority. Perhaps, none. At least not at this time or in the near future. But the moment the corporation takes momentum, hidden agenda coupled with vested interest (not to mention the moralistas who would insist on the uprightness of the process the association have undergone) may just be some of the motivations in fueling suits and complaints which are way too potent to put the gearing association on fire.
That without proper mandate, the authority of any organizing group who may proceed in initiating the association will be just like a dart board – created for the sole purpose which is to be an open target which will be prone to all sorts of attack.
As this writing leads you to a more revealing discussion, I believe you will in the process realize that perhaps “sensitive” is not enough to picture the then condition of the alumni association. Already in its critical stage, the remedial contingency I have prepared (and have presented before the proponent group) is its last chance to survive in as much as there are other impediment equally as hard to resolve if not to circumvent and that the question on authority and mandate just the tip-of-the-ice-berg.
THE LAST MINUTE ATTEMPT FOR A PREMATURE BIRTH
The goings-on in the event organizing circle are matters internal until someone make them of public knowledge. Believing the alumni deserve the right to know, I share with them in this article the behind-the-scene story of the last breaths of the alumni association.
With a selected few comprising a proponent group (several teachers and alumni who by profession may be regarded as authorities with this matter) I brought to their attention the fragile condition of the conceived plans of organizing the alumni association. To remedy the perceived impediments, my suggestion was to move for the premature birth; conduct a snap election in ratification of a working (temporary or transitional) constitution during the homecoming event. Without any objection from the members of said group who, as said are well selected and possessing unquestionable authority who by their wisdom should have opposed to my suggestion had they believe there is better way), I braced myself for an all-systems-go.
As the event technical writer and one of the central coordinators, I was the one who prepared the event program presenting it before the members of the organizing circle more than a week prior to the event. Part II of the Fourth Segment of the original program was the allotted time for THE LAUNCHING OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION. Of which, I have allotted some 15 minutes ballot voting. I believe the time I allotted workable much as the system had been well thought of putting in mind possible alumni concerns and considerations. I was prepared.
THE CAUSE OF DEATH
Wednesday, 4th of May, I was gearing to prepare the plebiscite and election materials when all hell started to break loose. I was asking the purchasing officer to prepare several supplies (which request sourced within defined budget allocation) I will need for the voting conduct. I was instructed to hold the plan. And immediately thereafter an emergency meeting was called.
Thursday, 5th of May, they suggested the meeting be held my place. “Huwag ka nang umalis, dyan ka nalang kami ang pupunta sayo,” was the instruction implying a tone of urgency. The agenda: Program revision and junking the plans for elections.
As representative of the biggest delegation that is batch ’87 during the homecoming, I suddenly found myself in the MINORITY within the organizing circle. (Can’t blame the two other ‘87s present during that time as their designation in technical aspect of the event – they have not the background details to make any categorical stand). Outnumbered by the representatives of ’85 (who, just to remind, is the smallest delegation during the homecoming, next to the 2 attendees of batch 93), I was given no choice but to yield to their instruction –
Call off the voting and revise the program.
DATE: 5 May 2011. TIME OF DEATH: 3:00 pm
“…Oreas, dapat ‘soft launch’ lang. Hindi tayo pwedeng magbanggit ng tungkol sa constitution.” For one, they worry how the alumni will response. To my mind, let the election returns reflect that. On the claim it will drag the program, all I was asking was some 10 minutes of the time. 15 minutes at most. (To those who may challenge, let me know and I’ll send you the voting procedure guideline and I’ll bet half of the net worth and assets of my financing business if 10 to 15 minutes is not a workable time).
“…ang gusto ng alumni (which to me sounded like; ‘ang gusto namin’), kasama sila sa pagbuo ng constitution.” Ideally so, any association or organization must afford its members the right to participate or be represented in the process of framing their constitution. You need not be legal practitioner to know that. But why then my proposal a short cut? I was explaining the legal, procedural, and institutional impediments the association is faced (explained in details in later sub-title) when I realized the decision’s been made and no amount of explaining will make them decide otherwise as it has ceased to be a question of merit of reason but a numbers game. Within the organizing circle, mine was only a single vote.
THE ATTEMPT TO REVIVE
My mind was racing. I was in cerebral calculation for a possible remedial resuscitation. Whether by luck or by wit, I was able to make them speak of the true motive why the denial for a premature birth. Having failed to push for the remedy, I insisted that we vote instead for the 5 board of trustees. And the real objection surfaced. They do not want any former teachers or administrators of the dissolved university to become members, worse trustees, of the association.
“…kaya nga alumni association, Oreas, alumni [lang dapat] ang members.”
o an outsider, the argument sounds reasonable. If it is an ideal or ordinary alumni association, perhaps there’s nowhere else to dig any reputing argument. But I just have to breathe and reasons are flowing just within the air much as my study made me see an entirely different alumni association vis-à-vis its contemporaries.
“…pwede natin silang kuning advisers pero hindi pwedeng sila pa ang board of directors.”
That statement made me shut my mouth up. These people have power over me only because of sheer number not of what they know. To what they just said, I have realized how uninformed are their opinions; why make them advisers if we can have them as trustees.
More than surprise, I was disenchanted asking how can one alumni who is now an educator herself – a principal – present me arguments without first doing homework? Worse even, how can a former teaching faculty would not want her fellow teachers and former bosses become part (other than advisers) of the association?
The bottom line is not that they do not want the short-cut fast-tracked launching of the association. They simply are opposed to the idea of having teachers and administrators as board of trustees. Unfortunately, it was the very objective I was geared to accomplish in 10 minutes during the night of the homecoming. Have a working constitution and board – start from there. . . start somewhere.
But they were as cold as reality could be. The vote was a resounding NO.
The moment I shut my mouth up as the circle started revising the program my eyes was telling them; the association just died. Also with their eyes, they made me hear nothing but a loud and clear sound of a resounding flat-line.
THE SUPPOSED INTENDED REMEDY AND CURE
Whether alumni exclusive or otherwise, I honestly have not to this day a particular stand. To mind, I am focused at issues one step at a time. My only goal is the birth of the association. As to its composition and other nitty-gritty details, I plan to leave that to body of the alumni.
But I have to start somewhere; some working structure. One that is most likely to remedy if not to circumvent the annihilating impediments. My idea of working it out is come up with a provisional association, temporary but critical.
The hardest hurdle rests on the issue of mandate and authority of any working committee who may purport to represent the alumni body. Note that unlike any other corporations which membership comes after incorporation (meaning prospective members still reserve the right and choice to apply or not to apply for membership), the association we intend to organize have a predetermined membership. Upon application for SEC accreditation (or licensure), we have an implied list of identified members who automatically are absorbed upon issuance of corporate certification (meaning we deny them of the right to choose whether they want to become members or not). Unlike of Schindler’s, you can’t be all too sure that all the names on your list (entire alumni) are grateful and happy to have them on that list. Thus, a question of fundamental right to associate which is as fundamental a right as right to liberty or property.
I couldn’t be happier to see two great “oldies” of the old university during the night of the homecoming: Don Caste (as we dearly call him in the boys campus) and Mommy Sandoval (as she is dearly called by her subordinate teachers). If only it wouldn’t be most inappropriate, I wanted to hug them that night. That wrinkled eyes of Sir Castillo as he smiles and that glowing silver hair of Ma’am Sandoval (am I glad she didn’t have it dyed) left in me an imprint of great resolve and wisdom (not to mention grace) rather than age. I’ll bet the other half of my net worth and assets if the both them don’t get to be elected as board if only elections were held that night. Those who opposed the conduct of elections are simply just well too aware of that.
And who can better be symbols of authority and respect than those two pillars of our Alma Mater? To my mind, having them as board of trustees even for the provisional term of the provisional working association while correcting some organizational flaws and only for the time being (if in case alumni really don’t want them, or do they?) will have great impact which may be a possible supervening remedy as to questions of mandate and authority. Though I admit not a slum-dunk remedy, but as provisional organization, the moment it has formally formed, it will have all the chance to improve itself and correct its flaws.
With authority derived from an open assembly of members which was during the alumni homecoming and with figures of authority giving their blessing to the extent of allowing themselves become the pioneering board, the vote is not anymore a matter or majority or quorum or questions anything of law but that of moral and custom. With teachers as trustees in an alumni association, we have the chance to REDIFINE our association as that which is not exclusive to alumni where authority and mandate should not necessarily be derived only from the body of alumni.
To those who oppose an argue that alumni association must be exclusive to alumni, I want to tell them “get real”. Your idea of alumni association is rather idealistic when our circumstances far befitting anything ideal. Further, if you believe there are a great number of alumni sharing the same sentiment as yours, amending the structure I believe would be more easy given a provisional organization.
History tells us that even the Cory government resorted to imposing a provisional constitution (known as the Freedom [or Cory] Constitution) which is one constitution existed shortest, only to give way to the 1987 Constitution which we have until today. As argued, it is better to have monkey constitution (monkey government) than not to have a constitution (or government) at all.
To those who argue they were not represented in the drafting of the proposed by-laws of the association where some within the circle even commented; “baka sabihin ng alumni bakit sila sasali dyan eh ikaw lang naman pala mag-isa sumulat ng constitution nay an – baka Oreas association lang yan? Honestly, do we have any problems with titles? Are we threatened of issues about credit and merits, are there any?
admit there are imperfections in my draft, but I argue that an imperfect constitution of an imperfect association which has all the chances to perfect itself in correcting its flaws is way a lot better than no constitution thus no association at all.
PROBLEM WITH MANDATE
To change the definition of membership is to modify the association as perhaps no longer exclusively an AUE Malabon Alumni Association. This affects not only structure but the very use of the title ALUMNI Association. If we intend to preserve the title, we necessary have follow the rule that all alumni comprise the association.
Without existing or prevailing rule or policy, it is understood that the generally accepted definition of terminologies apply. Quorum by definition is 50% of the total population plus one. Majority of a quorum is 50% of those present plus one. Without modifying the membership definition (if at all we want to use the title Alumni Association otherwise we have not the right to have it as title because it will comprise the entire alumni) we are faced with the very problem of obtaining a quorum. To redefine quorum or anything else to fit our intention is an act tantamount to power to legislate. Have we that power and how did we obtain the mandate? (to change number of quorum is a legislative function that unless we are elected to do so, we cannot adopt a policy or resolution to our advantage. Unless again, we change the definition of MEMBERSHIP as not exclusive to alumni association. If we include teachers, then no need to ask mandate from entire alumni because it is not exclusive an alumni association. But if we want an exclusive alumni association, my point is to have an association first, a transitional organization. Once organized, it is easy to design whatever structure we may want or intent the association to be.
Does this solution still apply? I believe so. The only way is to have an association but NOT AN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION. Perhaps a 86 alumni association or 87 alumni association. But an AUE Alumni Association? I very much doubt it as it will infringe the right of all the alumni to their right to associate. A single vote of NO (I don’t want to be a member) will suffice as render the title as not afterall comprsing the entire alumni of AUE Malabon. In as much as you cannot register before the SEC a US Citizen Association (that will automatically absorb as member all US Citezen upon your accreditation), it is in like manner you cannot register the title AUE MALABON Alumni Association. To those who doesn’t agree, go ahead and make your move and sooner or late you will realize that indeed… AUE MALABON ALUMNI ASSOCIATION have expired without seeing the light of day.
ELECTION IN MORTIS CAUSA
(PART II OF THIS ARTICLE TO BE CONTINUED…)
This blog Article was originally published sometime mid-month of May 2011 in Facebook before the AUE Malabon Exclusive page. Republication in this website is in line with the compilation project of all published blog articles of this author/writer/contributor. As herein published, topic content has no present bearing for its republication other than the reason first earlier cited. -- F Oreas
Saero Encoder 09:30, Abril 3, 2012 (UTC)