CEJA has suspended Vega from campaigning from 2 PM to 9 PM today. Photo by Ram Cusipag

CEJA suspends Vega from campaigning; SJC grants TRO

The Ateneo Law School Commission on Elections and Judicial Appointments (CEJA) recently suspended 4th Year Batch Representative candidate Thea Vega from campaigning.

CEJA received an anonymous letter on 23 February 2015, which pointed out Vega’s alleged premature campaigning. The candidate purportedly asked individuals to hold blank pieces of pink paper on Ash Wednesday, a few days before the campaign period.

The CEJA decision, which was released at 3:00 AM today, suspended Vega from engaging in any form of campaign or partisan political activity for 7 hours (from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM today). She was also ordered to take down all her electoral paraphernalia both inside the Law School premises and online.

The Palladium asked Vega for her statement on the matter. She asked us to refer to her Facebook post, where she said, “[t]he CEJA waited for me outside my classroom a day ago without prior notice of hearing (even through text) because of an ‘anonymous complaint’ because I took photos with my core team members during Ash Wednesday last week. I was interrogated in a room alone with 7 CEJA commissioners and I had NO NOTICE about my alleged offense. We filed our answer as soon as possible. We received the decision at 3 in the morning today so we’re already checking other possible legal remedies. So I RECEIVED THE COMPLAINT, FILED AN ANSWER, RECEIVED THE DECISION all IN LESS THAN 24 HOURS.”

Under Rule 9.4 of the ALS Omnibus Election Rules, “[i]t shall be unlawful for any student, whether or not a voter or a candidate, or for any political party, or association of persons, to engage in an election campaign or partisan political activity except during campaign period.”

[UPDATE] As for the part of the CEJA, its Resolution No. 15-002, in part, states: “It must be stressed that this was not a formal hearing. The candidate was under no compulsion to attend, and The Commission was under no obligation to afford her such courtesy. […] More importantly, The Candidate was given an opportunity to be heard not only once, but twice. [T]here could be no other purpose for asking the students and other personalities to hold pieces of paper in a color so closely associated with her in so public a place such as the Titatic, B1 Lobby, and the Ground Floor Garden other than to solicit their support for the campaign.”

Vega is still allowed to participate in the Miting de Avance organized by The Palladium tonight at 9:15 PM in Justitia.

Read and access the full CEJA Resolution here.

[UPDATE 2] In Resolution 001-2015 by the Student Judicial Council (SJC), it voted to grant Vega’s petition for a temporary restraining order. The SJC stated that, “Considering the expeditious manner in which the CEJA issued its Resolution adverse to the Petitioner [Vega], the latter stands to be irreparably prejudiced on the same day of the Resolution’s issuance, considering that the date thereof coincides with the last day of the campaign period as determined by CEJA. Petitioner would thus be deprived of her lawful right to solicit for votes from the student body afforded to her as candidate. Further, her right to due process is clear and unmistakeable, considering the rather cavalier fashion in which the CEJA proceeded against the Petitioner. For this, Petitioner is entitled to relief from this body.”

However, the Resolution is without prejudice to any other action that may be filed by any interested party anent the charge.

Read and access the full SJC Resolution here. P

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