Party members told to help, ‘but not super,’ in Feb Fair preps
Serrano clarifies: No move to sabotage preparations
By GUIEN GARMA
[FOURTH UPDATE: 7:03pm, August 11] What seems to be an online message of a top leader of political alliance Movement of Students for Progressive Leadership in UP (MOVE UP) is getting attention on the social networking site Facebook.
The conversation, posted by former University Student Council (USC) chairperson Leo Ysulat Fuentes on July 26, shows MOVE UP’s Ruevin Serrano allegedly telling members of the political party on February 8, 2015 to help in the preparations for the 2015 Feb Fair, but not in full.
Serrano ran for the chairmanship of the USC in 2012. He was the chairperson of the College of Veterinary Medicine Student Council last academic year.
As of posting time, the screenshot posted on Facebook has 897 likes, 79 comments, and 54 shares.
Fuentes said in his post that someone sent the screenshot to him. In a message sent to the Perspective, he only identified the source of the message as “anonymous or possibly a disgruntled member” of MOVE UP.
When asked how his source was able to get the conversation, Fuentes said he did not bother asking how it was retrieved, saying it was “trivial.”
Go help, ‘but not super’
“Guys, last week, nag-meet na lahat ng MOVE UP na nasa SC [student councils] ngayong week [ng] Feb Fair na, ang galaw ay tulong tulong but not super,” Serrano allegedly said in the message.
He also purportedly tasked the people who were in the said message board to observe if there will be problems regarding the preparations for the annual fair, including whether or not bond fees will not be returned.
“[K]apag namroblema, sabihin niyo sa akin. We will use this against them,” Serrano allegedly said.
Serrano allegedly said in the message board that their members’ mere presence in the preparations are enough.
“Magparamdam sa huling mga preps ng Feb Fair. Presence lang, keri na… [Huwag] kukuha ng sobrang laking ganap,” he said.
The Perspective sent messages to Serrano and the people who were also allegedly in the said messageboard, but received no replies as of posting time.
Meanwhile, in a statement posted on their Facebook page posted on July 28, the political party said that they have “been made aware of an alleged conversation between its members.” They also said that an investigation is now ongoing to “ascertain the truth and act accordingly.”
Serrano: Command not from alliance
On August 3, Serrano broke his silence through a Facebook status, admitting that he indeed sent the messages. However, he made clear that those were not orders from the political party, and were his personal instructions.
He also said that the members of the party who were in the said message thread did not follow his orders, and there was no sabotage of the Feb Fair preparations.
“Is this how UPLB politics is? Yes. … Is this a result of the politicking efforts of all parties? Yes,” he said.
Party to reprimand Serrano
MOVE UP said in a statement dated August 4 that Serrano “has been reprimanded and will undergo due process for disciplinary action in accordance with MOVE U.P.’s Constitution.”
The party has also condemned Serrano, one of their top figures, “for portraying the most unprincipled action in politics: selfish opportunism.”
Serrano may be suspended or expelled permanently from the political party.
“We also express our disgust with and condemnation in the strongest possible terms of other formations who have taken the opportunity to generalize the membership of MOVE U.P. from one statement of one member with his own perspective in the electoral struggle. It is disappointing that political opportunism also applies to the formation who shared the said conversation with malicious intent, resorting to ad-hominem and vulgar language, of degrading MOVE U.P. at its lowest point,” the party said.
Fuentes: Not first time MOVE UP attacked SCs
When asked what was his purpose in posting the private messages, Fuentes told Perspective, “Basically the purpose is to expose MOVE UP.”
“This is not the first time that MOVE UP opportunistically attacked the student council,” he added. Fuentes then referred the publication to a Facebook note he wrote in February 2013.
In the said note, titled “IN RESPONSE TO IDIOCY: Demystifying MOVE UP’s Politicking and Selective Justice,” posted in February 2013, Fuentes argued that MOVE UP had the motive to exaggerate the dismissal of former USC chairperson Ynik Ante, which led to the appointment to the chairmanship of vice-chairperson Abegaille dela Cruz, to “discredit their political rivals.”
The shake-up in the USC being referred to happened during the academic year 2012-2013.
With the leaked conversation in light, Fuentes believes that MOVE UP should be held accountable for their actions.
“[D]apat managot ang MOVE UP sa kanilang pagtraydor sa mga estudyante,” he said.
Former council chairpersons chime in
Allen Lemence, former USC chairperson, told the Perspective that he knew of the issue regarding the conversation before Fuentes posted it online.
“Minessage ako ng former councilmate in the USC about the issue,” Lemence said in a Facebook message.
In a status posted online on July 26, a day before the leaked message was posted on the Internet, Lemence said “In the student council, you don’t forget your colors – you campaigned for them and that’s probably why students voted for you. Instead, go beyond them in the name of serving the students and the people, but without compromising their interests and welfare.”
Despite knowing about the issue, Lemence told Perspective that he decided not to dwell on it too much on the said status.
In the same status, he reiterated that there are more relevant issues in the campus and in the country.
For his part, former USC chairperson Arthur Holt, who served from 2013-2014, simply said in a status: “Utterly disappointing.”
In a Facebook message, Holt said, “I took caution of asking [Lemence] the other day [July 26] because of [the latter’s] post. That was the only time I knew that something has happened.”
He made clear that he only knew about the leaked conversation on the same day it was posted by Fuentes online. [P]
This publication remains open to hear the side of political party MOVE UP and its members on this issue.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story addressed Ruevin Serrano as the OIC chairperson of MOVE UP. The Perspective has learned, through former College of Human Ecology Student Council chairperson Jean Paula Regulano, that Serrano is actually not holding any position in the party as of the moment.
However, the publication would like to disclose that during the election season before the end of the previous academic year, when we were sending letters to the leaders of the three political parties, letters sent to MOVE UP were addressed to “Mr. Ruevin Serrano, OIC Chairperson”. We received no correction at that time, thus, his being addressed as the OIC chairperson of the party on the first version of this story.
We regret the error.