Philippine Collegian campus journos barred from taking editorial exams

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Philippine Collegian campus journos barred from taking editorial exams
(UPDATED) The Board of Judges cites the candidates’ failure to meet residency requirements as basis for disqualification from taking the editorial exams. UP Chancellor Michael Tan upholds the decision.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two campus journalists of the Philippine Collegian, University of the Philippines Diliman’s official student publication, were disqualified from the selection of the publication’s next editor-in-chief.

The Board of Judges (BOJ), led by UP Mass Communications Dean Elena E. Pernia, cited the candidates’ failure to meet residency requirements as the basis for disqualification from taking the 2018 Philippine Collegian Editorial Examinations. (READ: WATCH: Campus journalists on why press freedom matters)

In an article published by the Philippine Collegian, Marvin Ang and Richard Calayeg Cornelio, Kultura and Features writers for the Philippine Collegian, respectively, were deemed ineligible by the BOJ on the basis of their graduating statuses.

They were said to be in violation of Article IV, Section 13 of the Philippine Collegian Rules, which states that “the editor of the Philippine Collegian, while serving in the capacity, must continue to satisfy the same qualifications [of being enrolled in an undergraduate degree course carrying not less than the normal load prescribed for a regular student] and be free of the disqualifications governing eligibility to participate in the competitive examinations, as prescribed in these rules.”

Ang and Cornelio, who were not formally notified by the BOJ of their initial disqualification, were prohibited by the Board after deliberations on April 26. Based on the rules, they should be carrying no less than the normal load prescribed for a regular student who might assume the post of editor-in-chief for the next academic year. (READ: Why campus journalists should go beyond classrooms)

The two campus journalists stressed in their separate appeals to the BOJ that they intended to pursue further studies in undergraduate programs in the University. This would allow them to meet the residency prerequisite should they be chosen as the next editor-in-chief.

Both Ang and Cornelio also argued that their graduating statuses do not disqualify them from taking the examination per se, noting that as presently enrolled undergraduates, they satisfy the provisions of Article III, Section 8 of the Philippine Collegian Rules which outline the prerequisites for taking the examinations. (READ: Does the Campus Journalism Act protect press freedom?

In a response dated May 3, the BOJ reiterated its position that the two writers remain in violation of the editorial examinations’ provisions on residency.

Meanwhile, a letter of protest was filed by incumbent College of Mass Communication chairperson Mikko Ringia against 3rd-year law student Jayson Edward San Juan.

According to Ringia, the Juris Doctor program is not a Bachelor’s degree, which stands as one of the prerequisites for eligibility, thus rendering San Juan unqualified for the examinations.

The list of qualified takers for the examinations is as follows: Mark Verndick Cabading, Maria Sopia Gozum, Hans Christian Marin, Beatrice Puente, and Jayson Edward San Juan (READ: The different faces of press freedom violations vs campus journalists)

On Friday, May 4, students and members of different publications staged a rally in front of Plaridel Hall to protest the BOJ’s decision.

Pernia is yet to reply to Rappler’s email seeking her comments on this issue.

UP chancellor upholds decision

On the day of the exams on Saturday, May 5,  UP Chancellor Michael Tan upheld the BOJ’s  decision.

The appeal to postpone the Collegian exam is academic and moot given that the rules are clear, with no precedents to challenge the rule,” Tan said in statement on Saturday, May 5.

Incumbent Philippine Collegian Editor-in-Chief Sanny Boy Afable said they will continue to fight despite the decision. 

“Shame that for a university that has become the bastion of free speech and activism, for a college that trains students to become journalists, the 95-year old student publication is being repressed and its writers are silenced,” Afable told Rappler. – with reports from Juan Gregorio Lina/

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