Friday, February 8, 2008

The Assassination of Karl Satinitigan

Disclaimer: The title is an allusion to the Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial (February 6, 2008) entitled "The Assassination of De Venecia"

We are terribly disappointed at how the Sanggunian has handled the current chain of events. We are referring to the recent string of resignations in the student council, with great emphasis on the issue of Karl Satinitigan's non-enrollment.

We have read the article in The Guidon entitled "Top Sanggu officers resign." We agree to the students' reactions when they say that the Sanggunian should have told the students about these resignations and vacancies. We agree when students talk about how Sanggunian should have been more transparent with the internal workings of the council.

We have also read the statement of the newly sworn Sanggunian President, Cabrei Cabreira, on the status of Karl Satinitigan. We are terribly disappointed at how the statement deflected the various issues raised by our group and other students by saying that "laudable efforts from our lower units were significantly negated by the absence of clear-cut leadership."

Why are they (the President speaking in behalf of the Sanggunian) putting blame on Karl Satinitigan? Is the President of the Sanggunian the only one liable for this "absence of clear-cut leadership?" Aren't the Vice President and the other officers also culpable? Why does it sound like the Karl Satinitigan issue is being used as a fire escape from the burning building known as the Sanggunian? Can't the Sanggunian take care of its own? If it can't, how does it expect to "take care" of the student body? Karl Satinitigan is first and foremost a student and part of the Sanggunian constituency.

If there was one thing that the new president said that was right, then it would be the importance of the coming Sanggunian elections. It would be the true measure of how students perceive this recent chain of events. We wouldn't be surprised if, like the on-going plebiscite regarding the number of course representatives, the quota would not be reached.


Jose said...

ok, you guys certainly make sense, but instead of anonymously commentating from the sidelines, why don't any of you actually stand up and effect change? certainly change has to come from the student body as a whole, but hey, every revolution needs a leader. change needs a face as well. people need someone who they can look up to and say, hey, hes just like me, but he did that great thing, so i wanna be like him. so i dunno, shut up and do something. if you think sending anonymous emails is gonna effect change, you guys will be sorely disappointed.

Eric Draven said...

Please, just shut up.

The Parched Jester said...

Clearly, Karl is in a tough time right now. At the very least, we should show compassion for the fellow Atenean. He had good intentions though I am not truly aware of how prominently did he figure as President of the Sanggunian.

I appreciate how the society pointed out that this arguably beleagured state of the Sanggu is not sublimely Karl's fault. I hope that the newly sworn President's statement regarding the absence of a clear-cut leadership was an honest lapse of judgment. Ultimately, let us all support the new President and get involved in the upcoming elections.

Let us not repeat history, may the future helmsmen of the Sanggu learn from the mistakes of the past.

All my best to the Ateneo.

ivygail said...

With regards to someone commenting that you guys/girls are "losers" for bashing Cabrei even if she's "just starting", I believe that your group has every right to comment about her statement because, technically, she already started. Around a year ago to be exact. One can affect change even if he/she is "just" the vice president. One can always speak up.. after all, silence means consent.

The statement of the new Sanggunian President seems to relay to the reader that the "new Sanggu" is distancing itself away from Karl --- a struggle to disengage perhaps from an extremely battered Sanggunian in order to start with a clean slate? (regardless of the fact that the year's almost over anyhow)

I find it hard to understand why this is what I'm getting from the statement since it clearly concretizes the implied reality of the factions among Sanggu members (as gleaned from Cabrei's statement "laudable efforts from our lower units were significantly negated by the absence of clear-cut leadership.") The mood as well as the construction of the statement itself seems to provide textual evidence of strained relations and unresolved problems among rival parties. Interesting. We had/have a divided Sanggu then?

I do not know a lot about the goings-on in the Sanggunian or if such problems are really present. What I do know is that Gadfly has started on a good baby step to rattle those in power that there are students who care enough to make their elected student-leaders accountable. Watchdogs perhaps?

Time can only tell if the typical Atenean will be ready to care enough not only about his/her student council or his/her dress code but also about the bigger issues at hand -- out there in the real world.

K. said...

Santinitigan could have been more responsible with regard to the issue of not being an official Ateneo student - there are certainly more gracious ways of leaving office than being ousted. But as disappointed as I am with Satinitigan's leadership, a part of me feels sorry for him. Being an important leader, external pressure from anonymous sources and professional columnists, an Ateneo senior year, resignations from people under you and financial difficulties all amount to an extremely stressful year.

As irritated as I am by the Gadfly Society (filling my inbox without my the flies that they are), I DO have to agree with them when they say that "Karl Santinigan is first and foremost a student and part of the Sanggunian constituency." His concerns as a student, as a person (looking at the facts, I come to the conclusion that there are more than one personal issues involved in Santinigan's "downfall") come first, and people should be more understanding of this. As twenty-somethings, we're allowed to make mistakes. We're allowed to fail, in fact, we SHOULD fail at one thing or another. But to have to fail under harsh criticism and accusations and in the's humiliating. I completely agree with the parched jester. We should show compassion for Santinigan.

I just wish this entire issue could have been treated with more respect and grace - from all parties involved.

dave (",) said...

you've asked some good questions but these are not: "Can't the Sanggunian take care of its own? If it can't, how does it expect to 'take care' of the student body?"

the key here is asking for help.

moving on, there is one question that i am amazed no one is asking: why did the school admin not communicate this fact to the sanggu at the start of the sem to avoid this mess?

Pekpek ni Patsee said...

Sanggu, kainin niyo na lang pekpek ni patsee.

Pekpek ni Patsee said...

ang problema sa Sanggu, ndi nila kinakain pekpek ni Patsee.

Pekpek ni Patsee said...

Gab Perez, huwag ka nang magsanggu. Kainin mo na lang pekpek ni patsee.

Rhea said...

How elitist can you get..."Ousting" or "Impeaching" the president on the basis that he cannot pay the tuition As if having financial difficulties is a sin.

They could have at least declared the position vacant.

Carlo said...

The… how to say this delicately… departure… of Sanggunian president Karl Satinitigan from office came as a deep shock to me. In a year of resignations, controversy, and attacks from critics both public and anonymous, the spectacular moral irresponsibility of a man whom we looked up to was all but heartbreaking. I felt genuine pity for Cabrei, taking over the position of a friend whom she trusted and counted on. But most of all, I felt pity for the unsung heroes of our student government: the many lowly officials, course representatives, and support staff whose successes were ignored, who were criticized for the failings of others, who were insulted for not doing things that were not in their wide and difficult job description, and who were let down by their leader.

I actually sympathize with Karl on many levels. Those who worked with him will agree with me that he was a hard-working, compassionate leader under whom the Sanggunian accomplished a great deal. It must have been a terrible blow to him and his family for him to lose his scholarship. That he may have lost it because he cut too many classes in favor of his work is particularly poignant. However, this does not diminish the fact that the man lied, and lied to all of us. He pretended for nearly an entire semester that he was qualified to be president. He wasn’t. You have to be enrolled to be president. This is not a case of irresponsibility, of a man neglecting to perform a duty. This is a case of a man telling people that he is something he is not. It is, to be brutally frank, dishonesty.

I have to admit that in the wake of this betrayal, I felt betrayed, vulnerable, and disappointed. Karl’s official statement didn’t help. Admitting irresponsibility and admitting dishonesty are two different things. He did the former and not the latter. Then he tried to redeem himself by making a public and emotional tirade against President Arroyo. Who is he to talk about legitimacy? Dammit, Karl, I looked up to you.

The Gadfly society, for whom I have lost all respect, immediately seized on his moment of weakness to mount a renewed ideological assault on the Sanggunian. As usual, no solutions were offered. As usual, there were many complaints based on a smug assumption that the student government is responsible for getting all students socially involved and fails if it does not. As usual, the comments were vague, evasive, and rude. As usual, they ignored the hard work of the low and midlevel officers who struggled to hold everything together in the face of tight work schedules and three top-level resignations.

Let me make one thing clear. The role of the student government is not to inform students of relevant sociopolitical issues. That’s the job of the Guidon and the Political Science department, dammit. Neither is it our role to mobilize students to act on the issues. You know whose job that is? Yours.

Here, for the sake of all idiots and Gadflies, is the role of the Sanggunian, as explained by Leland Dela Cruz, the Sanggunian’s moderator from 1995 to 2000:

The primary function of any Student Council, especially at the college
level is representation and the primary group that the Student Council
represents the students to is the school administration… The Sanggunian is also very much part of decision-making on campus. The Sanggunian President and Vice-President sit on the School Council, the highest policy-making body of the Loyola Schools which decides things such as new courses (whether or not to approve AB Chinese Studies, for example) and general school policies (ex. drug testing). It also has members in key school committees which discuss things such as matters regarding academic standards (choice of valedictorian, probation, change of grade) discipline (which includes not just cases but also issues regarding changing the code of discipline) and budget (which decides on the tuition fee increase and what offices get new equipment and bigger budgets)

All other roles are “secondary.” We may run projects, organize the studentry, act as co-formators, and represent the students to external bodies, but that’s not our primary job. Thank you for clarifying that, ma’am.

We helped educate students about the Human Security Act. We set up an opportunity for students to direct their concerns and questions about the country to two senators in a public forum. We provided an avenue by which students were able to help the Sumilao farmers. We ran awareness campaigns for everything from student rights to the Jun Lozada case. We even set up a vote to modify the student government’s structure for better efficiency. And we did it all while providing an information service that allowed any students to get news and relevant information through their course representatives. Not one of these things falls under our primary responsibilities. We didn’t have to do them, but we did. We did it despite multiple resignations in the highest levels of our organization. And we did it all for free. Not one member of the Sanggunian received a single peso or academic citation for all this extra work. When you graduate, they don’t put a citation beside your name saying that you were a member of a hard working student government. They just list what academic honors you got. How many of us in the Sanggu would have gotten such honors if we had focused on our academics instead of working for an ungrateful student body?

Well, actually, the student body wasn’t entirely ungrateful. We got one show of thanks, an editorial in the Guidon, “Two Sides of a Coin.” Thank you, Guidon, for having the humanity to say thank you.

Irrelevant? If the student body failed to get involved despite this massive, organized, and voluntary effort, it can only be because of apathy. That is not our fault. If students fail to capitalize on the many opportunities given to them to participate and make a difference, then it is they, and not the Sanggunian, who are irrelevant.

Even more irrelevant are those who criticize without understanding, lambaste without reasoning, and speak without putting their names on the line. Goodbye, gadflies. You will not hear from me again, and it is my hope that the simple truths I am explaining here will be the final nail in the coffin for you and all your pusillanimous ilk.

Carlo Antonio R. Rivera IV
Graduate, AB Literature (English) 2008
March 30, 2008