2009 yearbook to be released

Unsettled payments still hound former council officers

19 July 2010

Replicating the success of batch 2006 with its “The Pioneer” yearbook, graduates of batch 2009 will soon receive their exquisite yearbook starting today, photography and printing contractor Relans announced recently. This comes as a good news for them, but many graduates will find their copies mothballed due to pending or unremitted payments by the then-officers of college student councils.

Fund Fiasco

The campus was rocked in early 2009 by news that hundreds of thousands of pesos remain unaccounted for due to the failure of council presidents to settle their obligations with Relans. The batch 2009 graduates paid their dues to council presidents for their graduation shots and yearbook. They were accused of carting away hefty amounts of cash to the peril of their constituents.

According to figures from Relans, then CME-SC president Jermie Petalver has an outstanding obligation of more than P630,000, while CMC-SC president Noel Domdom still had around P40,000 to settle. Petalver reportedly lost a substantial portion of his dues to a “budol-budol” debacle shortly before remitting the same. He failed to attend his classes since and did not graduate.

Similar allegations also involved the CET-SC president in that year with about P100,000 still unsettled with Relans to date. Mhelliza Llanillo’s term was rocked with more controversies as she was formally charged with estafa for another alleged anomaly where payments for delivered college shirts were not settled with the shirt contractor. Despite having a falling out in late 2008 with Sadi Garments covering the early batches of shirt deliveries, further orders were still collected from CET students who were totally clueless of the ongoing financial tussle with the shirt contractor. The students later failed to receive their paid college shirts. To date, victims are still clamoring for the refund of their payments, in which the total amount she received from the voluminous orders had never been determined due to the absence of plausible accounting and auditing processes. There were also allegations that she embezzled the estimated P60,000 income from sold tickets for the 2008 annual beauty pageant organized by the council she headed. Said fund raising was intended to augment the meager financing of the event.

Rootcause of CET council fund mess

Student leaders privy to the situation claim that the fund disaster has started with the failure or refusal of Llanillo in mid-2008 to open a bank account after collecting P150 each from about 2,000 students of the PLM's biggest college. Opening bank accounts for council funds are regularly made to protect the collections from the financially-strapped scholars. Llanillo instead personally managed the funds while sharing portions with her treasurer and auditor who, replicating their president, separately handled at least less than a hundred thousand pesos each at their own discretion. The treasurer has reportedly failed to consolidate the funds and secure in a bank account which allegedly resulted to the fund mess that cascaded to and were repeated in other upcoming fund collections.

Prospects for Fund Recovery

No resolution, however, is still on sight as to the recovery of the missing payments to finally settle and bury the issues into the dustbins of history. Instead, the personalities involved were the ones who have gone to total oblivion after sorely emasculating the trust and mandate accorded them, and has seriously betrayed their constituents. Countless scholars became the biggest losers in this fund fiasco perpetrated by a few student leaders.

As an aftermath, calls for circumspect or prudent management of funds by those given the mandate to serve the studentry were raised by their constituents so that the hard-earned funds collected from the latter are safeguarded and used judiciously for the welfare of the students. Student leaders, as they are, are expected to lead and serve their constituents well and discharge their functions for the sole benefit and interest of the latter and not for their own personal comfort. Responsible leaders, in whatever spectrum of society including national or local, are expected to endure sacrifice if the service calls for it, instead of abusing their powers and preying on their helpless and hapless constituents. Incidentally though, the council officers implicated in the fund mess are known to be close peer friends bound by their political ideology and were identified with no other but one student political party in their respective posts.

Significantly, the core values of the University frown upon such misdemeanors of its scholars which are considered detestable and repulsive to human character. PLM's avowed mission is to develop, among others, morally upright professionals and socially responsible citizens.

Efforts are being exerted, though, by the other student political party that dominated the current Supreme Student Council (2010) to establish communication with the former council officers as far as the three-quarter-million balance with Relans is concerned. This is intended to help avert the resurgence of deep wounds earlier caused on the part of the alumni considering that their paid yearbook is about to be released soon but yet on hold. Llanillo’s case, however, appears to be a longer way to go as there are more scores she has to settle with her former constituents.

Unfinished business

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the upcoming release of the 2009 yearbook, online comments show that the 2007 graduates are heavily clamoring since a year ago for the release of their batch yearbook. Its editor-in-chief who managed the engagement is purportedly likewise nowhere to be found and, like the others, can no longer be reached for comment.

The swifter satisfaction of deliverables by the latter 2009 batch has placed the earlier 2007 batch in an uneasy situation to finish its work sooner, better than later, so that future efforts at coming up with yearbooks as a timeless academic memento may not be undermined nor doubted at all, especially by the graduating batches who are the focus groups to avail of said service.

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