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The Correct Facts About the PSME Election 2015

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, December 29, 2015



The PSME held its 63rd National Convention & General Membership Meeting at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City, on October 21-25, 2015. Pursuant to Sec. 5.1 of the PSME Amended By-Laws (“By-Laws”); Sec. 16 of the PSME Amended Omnibus Election Code (“Amended Election Code”); and Secs. 2.2.6 and 3.2.2 of the PSME Policy Manual (“Manual”), the PSME must elect 15 Directors-Elect for 2016 during the Convention. The cited provisions state:


Section 5.1         The Society shall be governed by the Board of Directors composed of 15 members who shall be elected during the regular annual election in accordance with the Provision of the Omnibus Election Code   xxxxx.” (By-Laws, Oct. 21, 2000)


Section 16.         Regular Election for National Directors – The regular election for the National Directors shall be held in the month of October to coincide with the Annual National Convention of the Society. Xxxxx” (Amended Election Code)


Section 2.2.6       Hold an annual convention where delegates adopt resolutions to determine the activities for the future and elect a new set of members of the Board of Directors for the following year.” (Policy Manual)


Section 3.2.2       Composition – Fifteen (15) members shall be elected by the general membership during the regular annual election held at every Annual Convention xxxxx.” (Policy Manual)


The election proceedings at the convention were peaceful and orderly. No untoward incident happened. From 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. of Oct. 24, 2015, the canvassing of votes was done.


At 12:25 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015, after the canvassing had been completed by the Comelec, Engr. Jericho Borja filed a pre-proclamation protest questioning: (i) alleged acceptance of Manila Host ballots after the 5 p.m. deadline; and (ii) that ballots of Manila Host Chapter allegedly have identical penmanship. No other protest was filed.


As a result of Engr. Borja’s protest, the proclamation of the winning candidates based on the Comelec canvass was momentarily withheld pending resolution by the Comelec. After an en banc deliberation, at 2:40 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015, the Comelec dismissed the protest of Engr. Borja, ruling that the acceptance of the ballots were made before 5:00 p.m., and ballots may have identical penmanship as we are allowed to vote by proxy. Still, by then, no other protest was filed.


Accordingly, at around 3:00 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015, the Comelec came out together, faced the members remaining at the Convention, and presented a Tally Sheet duly signed by them under the words “CERTIFIED CORRECT”. None of the members, including Engr. Leandro Conti who was present, raised any question or issue.


Comelec Second Member Engr. Ely Bagtasus then announced to the public and stated that in behalf of his Comelec colleagues who were standing beside him, he will read the names of the 15 candidates with highest votes according to the allocation. Importantly, he used the word “proclaim” without objection from his Comelec colleagues. Engr. Conti who remained present also raised no objection to the proclamation. In fine, the Comelec did not make any reservation or state any condition to the proclamation. The Comelec did not say that the proclamation was not official or that an official proclamation would be made in the future. Thus, Engr. Bagtasus said:


“To mention my respect, my colleague here Engr. Rey Uy for being a committed, commitment member to PSME and a committed COMELEC member who wants to have a very peaceful and honest election this year. Mr. President, our beloved fellow engineers in behalf of my COMELEC Chairman I’m honored to proclaim the winners of the just concluded and properly tabulated results of the COMELEC for 2016 officers of PSME. I would like to proclaim and mention the following officials based on the ranking of our tabulation. NCR: number 1 is Engr. Edgardo Camering…’


The winners proclaimed were Engrs. Edgardo Camering, Murry Demdam, Lorenzo Larion, Leandro Conti, Loreto Catalan, all of NCR; Engrs. Willy Bermudez and Diosdado Fetalvero of North Luzon; Engrs. Leonardo Cometa and Nardito Cornelio of South Luzon; Engrs. Lemie Leonida, Joemarie Arib and Emmanuel dela Cruz of Visayas; and Engrs. Roberto Sollano, Robert Dy and Feliciano Perater Jr. of Mindanao.


Following that proclamation of the winners for the 2016 National Board, PSME President Engr. Pablito Ocampo officially adjourned and closed the Convention at 2:55 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015. Therefore, the Comelec had already complied with its duties, under Sec. 20 of the Amended Election Code; and Secs.,,, 9.5.4,, and of the Policy Manual. The votes had been canvassed, the results had been certified and signed by the Comelec, and the winners were forthwith proclaimed by Comelec.


Section 20.         Proclamation of the National Directors Elect – Upon completion of the canvass of votes by the COMELEC, the person or persons obtaining the highest number of votes in accordance with the distribution provided for in the By-laws shall be declared elected xxxxx.

“All Fifteen (15) Directors shall compose the National Board and the President acts as the Chairman.” (Amended Election Code)


Section             The results of the canvass of ballots shall be prepared and certified to by the COMELEC.” (Policy Manual)


Section             The candidates receiving the highest number of votes corresponding to the number of seats allocated shall be declared elected by the COMELEC.” (Policy Manual)


Section             The results of the election shall be announced during the general membership meeting of the convention.” (Policy Manual)


Section 9.5.4       Agenda and Program –

“xxx   xxx   xxx

Evening     Announcement of Election Results

                 Recapitulation and Closing of Convention.” (Policy Manual)



Section    Annual – As prescribed by Section 7.1 of the Amended By-laws, there shall be an Annual General Membership meeting of the Society coinciding with the Annual Convention, which shall be held in Metro Manila during the month of October, on a date decided by the Board of Directors. The agenda of the meeting shall include the following:

“xxx   xxx   xxx  Election of Directors and Officers  Report of the Commission on Elections.” (Policy Manual)


According to Sec. 5.2 of the By-Laws; Sec. 21 of the Amended Election Code; and Secs. 3.2.3, 7.2,, and of the Policy Manual, the proceedings should have continued in the convention with the election among and by the 2016 Directors-Elect of the 2016 National Officers.


Section 5.2         Immediately after their election, the directors shall elect from among themselves a President, Executive Vice-President, Vice-President for Internal Affairs, Vice-President for Regions – NCR, Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, Vice-President for External Affairs, Vice-President for Technical Affairs, Secretary and Treasurer. The President-elect, with the approval of the Board may designate an Auditor, P.R.O. and such other officers and personnel as may be deemed necessary subject to the approval of the Board.” (By-Laws)


Section 21.         Election of National Officers – After Directors Elect had been proclaimed, the COMELEC will now convene and chair the assembly for the Directors to elect among themselves the National Directors, to wit: President, Executive Vice-President, Vice-President for Internal Affairs, Vice-President for External Affairs, Vice-President for Technical Affairs, Vice-President for National Capital Region (NCR), Vice-President for Luzon, Vice-President for Visayas, and Vice-President for Mindanao, Secretary, Treasurer. The formal proclamation by the COMELEC for the elected national officers shall be done during the closing ceremonies of the National Convention.” (Amended Election Code.)


Section 3.2.3       Election Among Directors – Immediately after the election of the Board of Directors, they shall elect among themselves a President, Executive Vice President, Vice President for Internal Affairs, Vice President for NCR, Vice President for Luzon, Vice President for Visayas, Vice President for Mindanao, Vice President for External Affairs, Vice President for Technical Affairs, Secretary and Treasurer. The President-elect, with the approval of the Board may designate an Auditor, Public Relations Officer and such other officers and personnel as may be deemed necessary subject to the approval of the Board as prescribed by Section 5.2 of the Amended By-Laws.” (Policy Manual)


Section 7.2         OFFICERS

“Immediately after their election, the Directors shall elect among themselves the following officers:


Section    The directors-elect then proceed with the election of officers.” (Policy Manual)


Section    Annual – As prescribed by Section 7.1 of the Amended By-laws, there shall be an Annual General Membership meeting of the Society coinciding with the Annual Convention, which shall be held in Metro Manila during the month of October, on a date decided by the Board of Directors. The agenda of the meeting shall include the following:

“xxx   xxx   xxx  Election of Directors and Officers”



A review of the foregoing provisions shows that their common spirit and intention is for the directors-elect to assemble soonest after their election to elect among themselves the national officers.          The sole provision that mentions any partici-pation of the Comelec is Sec. 22 of the Amended Election Code. Nevertheless, the tenor of the Comelec participation is that its action is merely to facilitate the meeting.


The clear beneficial right intended to be protected is the election of the officers by the directors-elect, and NOT the act of convening the directors-elect. The directors-elect have a right to be convened in a meeting to elect the officers. The Comelec only calls the meeting DURING THE CONVENTION to give effect to the right of the directors-elect’s to choose from among themselves the national officers.


This is confirmed by the By-Laws, which is one of PSME’s charter documents. As a charter document, it is superior to the non-charter documents Amended Election Code and Policy Manual. Even the Policy Manual also does not state any participation by the Comelec. This silence in the PSME charter document and Policy Manual supports the conclusion that the action of the Comelec to call the meeting is a mere facility for the directors-elect to choose from among themselves the national officers.


However, the Convention extended into dawn, with many members having gone. It was understandable that the directors-elect decided to have the election of officers at another time. And so, the President Engr. Ocampo announced that since the “proclamation” had been made, the Convention was adjourned and closed.


Notably, the Comelec officially transmitted the above election results to the incumbent 2015 National Board, as evidenced by the endorsement duly received by the National Board at 3:00 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015. The endorsement was signed by all members of Comelec.


Even Engr. Conti concurred. At exactly 11:15:25 of Oct. 25, 2015, Engr. Conti sent out his email confirming the validity of the Comelec proclamation and acknowledging the above results of the election by thanking all who supported his candidacy. Many of you have read that email.


Thereafter, the 2016 Directors-Elect waited for Comelec to perform its action to convening them for the election of the 2016 National Officers.


Instead, in a letter addressed to the national Board and dated Oct. 27, 2015, and two full days after the close of the Convention, Comelec Chairman Gilbert Fuentecilla unilaterally reported the official result of the election at the convention. However, he made a slight change in the list of winners from those proclaimed on Oct. 25, 2015. He replaced Engr. Loreto Catalan with Engr. Isagani Pantoja. In the letter there is no mention that Engr. Pantoja protested. Engr. Catalan also confirms that he was not summoned to any hearing to discuss his possible replacement.


Chairman Fuentecilla added a further irregularity in the latter part of the same October 27 letter. He suddenly mentioned a clearly belated protest of Engr. Conti received earlier in the same day October 27, 2015. The protest is not verified. Chairman Fuentecilla then stated in the same letter that the protest had supposedly been acted upon, and one “NCR” tally sheet with 500 votes was invalidated allegedly for “statistical improbability.” For that reason, Chairman Fuentecilla announced radical changes in the list of winners.


Thus, in addition to the removal of Engr. Loreto Catalan from the list, the votes of Engrs. Camering, Demdam, Larion, Bermudez, Fetalvero, Cometa, Cornelio Jr., Leonida, Arib, Sollano, Dy and Perater Jr., were all reduced by 500 votes. None of them were priorly summoned to any hearing. Also, Engrs. Pantoja and De la Cruz, were this time deleted and replaced by Engrs. Jaime Jajay Cruz and Alipio Bacalso. Engrs. Catalan, Pantoja and De la Cruz were never priorly summoned to any hearing about the Comelec’s intention to replace them.


Worse, the Chairman’s letter did not say which NCR tally sheet was invalidated, and also does not say that any Chapter from which the supposedly invalidated tally sheet came was informed nor given a chance to be heard regarding the invalidation 500 of its votes.


Clearly, the actions of Chairman Fuentecilla, in behalf of the Comelec, violated the principles of due process and fair play. He also disenfranchised 500 voters of the supposed “NCR” chapter.


Moreover, the Comelec disregarded and violated Section 9.1.6 of the Policy Manual that states: “The general membership is the superior body in the Society. It, therefore, follows that the National Convention of the general membership is the supreme authority of the Organization, and that no subordinate body can repeal, rescind, or otherwise modify or change any act or vote of the superior body, except involving direct amendments of the Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws.”


The apparent haste in that Comelec action, coupled with the lack of transparency in that action, only questions the motivation of the Comelec, and leads to the conclusion that the Comelec ruling was haphazard, unjust, and railroaded.


Still, the action of the Comelec on Engr. Conti’s protest is unauthorized, and is a patent error. The Comelec’s authority to rule on protests is circumscribed only within the proceedings of the Convention and only prior to a proclamation that it makes.


A reading of all the constitutive documents of the PSME shows that the spirit and intention of all procedures is for the election to be closed together with the adjournment of the Convention, SO THAT THE SOCIETY CAN MOVE FORWARD, AND SO THAT THE DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS CAN START PLANNING TO MOVE POSITIVELY INTO THE NEXT YEAR.


To interpret that the Comelec has a limitless authority that continues for no definite time after the close of the Convention negates the spirit of the above quoted provisions of the By-Laws, Amended Election Code and Policy Manual. Such an interpretation would be absurd, whimsical and tyrannical.


Moreover, the authority of the Comelec to rule and protests cannot disregard, or much less negate, other provisions of the same Amended Election Code, including Sec. 18, which states that the correction even of errors in the certificates of canvass is not allowed. Since the wording of the provision is categorical, even the Comelec cannot correct errors, and cannot change results. This is consistent with the intention to close and make final the election before adjournment of the Convention.


Furthermore, the Comelec should not have given due course to Engr. Conti’s protest because it is not verified.


Considering all the foregoing, the attempt of Comelec Chairman Fuentecilla to change the result of the election that was proclaimed on Oct. 25, 2015, is clearly illegal, unlawful and invalid.


To further show the absurdity in the Comelec’s interpretation of its authority, in a letter dated Nov. 2, 2015, the Comelec gave notice of a meeting on Nov. 7, 2015, or two weeks after the Convention, purportedly to promulgate a resolution on what it suddenly termed as the “pre-proclamation” protest of Engr. Conti, and that it was going to make another proclamation of winning candidates.


The Directors-Elect proclaimed on October 25, 2015, clung steadfast to their rights and initially proceeded to the Nov. 7, 2015 meeting, in order to question, object to and protest the basis of the meeting. However, Comelec swept these questions aside without any answer.


Incidentally, that meeting also violated Sec. 7.6 of the By-Laws requiring that notice to be mailed three weeks before date. The meeting also violated Sec. 6.6 of the By-Laws, as well as Sec. of the Policy Manual specifying that the National Secretary must be the one to issue the meeting notice. The Directors-Elect also questioned the insufficiency of the notice for the time of the meeting, the lack of proof of service of notice to the invitees, the lack of a basis for determining the quorum, and the lack of a proper motion for the purported hearing as required by Sec. 9(d) of the Amended Election Code. Yet, the Comelec also swept these aside.


The Directors-Elect also protested the inclusion of a proclamation in the agenda, because the proclamation had been made on Oct. 25, 2015. The Comelec just inexplicably insisted that no proclamation was made on Oct. 25, 2015. Therefore, the Directors-Elect submitted a letter to the Comelec, demanding that they be convened within three days for the election of the National Officers. The Comelec did not act on it.


All the efforts of plaintiffs to have the meeting cancelled went to no avail. The Comelec even accepted more protests on that day, or about two weeks after the Convention. None of these protests were verified, but Comelec still accepted them. Therefore, the Directors-Elect that were already proclaimed on Oct. 25, 2015, were constrained to withdraw their attendance.


26.       On Nov. 14, 2015, the Board passed Resolution No. 2015-59. It states:


“WHEREAS, COMELEC issues were raised in this meeting as follows:


“1. The COMELEC already proclaimed the winning candidates last October 25, 2015 past 3:00 a.m. at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City based on the video recording reviewed by the National Board wherein the names of the winning candidates per region together with the corresponding votes garnered were certified correct on the tally sheet by the COMELEC and read before the closing of the plenary on October 25, 2015;


“2. The national Executive Committee convened for an emergency meeting last November 5, 2015 and passed an ExCom Resolution calling for the election of officers on November 8, 2015, but was ignored by the COMELEC;


“3. The COMELEC was in excess of its duty to entertain or hear the electoral protests which were not verified even if it is very clear in the Omnibus Election Code that all electoral protests should be verified;


“4. The COMELEC disregarded the November 7, 2015 letter of candidates Murry F. Demdam, Loreto G. Catalan, Edgardo Camering and Nardito Cornelio demanding that directors-elect be convened for the purpose of election of the 2016 National Board & Officers;


“5. At the time prior to the proclamation of candidates last October 25, there was only one pre-proclamation protest and it was already dismissed by the COMELEC, hence there was no other pre-proclamation protest;


“6. The COMELEC had been pushing for a compromise agreement, amicable settlement and even power sharing with some of the 2016 directors-elect which is not part of their functions and jurisdiction;


“WHEREAS, the National Board believes that the COMELEC has no autonomous power and that COMELEC action such as calling for a meeting with candidates in a venue which is outside the principal official address of PSME is subject to Board approval;


“WHEREAS, the alleged pre-proclamation protests submitted by Engrs. Leandro Conti, Jaime Jajay Cruz, Ramon Aguilos, Alipio Bacalso, Alan Rufila, Vitaliano Mamawal III & Dindo Nicolas are unverified and as such are considered as mere allegations;


“WHEREAS, the Comelec up to this time has failed to convene the winning candidates for the purpose of electing the 2016 National Officers immediately after proclaiming the winners;


“NOW THEREFORE, on motion made by NS Rolando So, duly seconded by VP for NCR Manuel Paulino


“BE IT RESOLVED, as it is hereby resolved, to direct the COMELEC, and invite the 15 candidates proclaimed as winners for their respective region last October 25, 2015, to attend the Special Board Meeting on November 28, 2015, 10:00 a.m. at the Philippine Columbian Association for the purpose of electing the 2016 National Board of Directors and Officers.


“RESOLVED FURTHER, that all requests for disbursement related to COMELEC functions shall require the prior approval of the National Board.


27.       Instead of complying with the Resolution, and in a clear attempt to pre-empt its intention, the Comelec furnished the Board with a 2-page letter dated November 25, 2015, with an undated RESOLUTION, a 2-page Certificate of Canvass (dated Nov. 21, 2015), and an OMNIBUS RESOLUTION. The four documents state that the Comelec supposedly acted on various protests of Engrs. Conti, Cruz, Paspe, Nicolas, Rufila, and Bacalso, and was now invalidating 999 votes from the “NCR” Chapter allegedly because the “results are utterly improbable and clearly incredible”.


Moreover, the Comelec allegedly promulgated on November 22, 2015, an Omnibus Resolution declaring a fourth set of supposed winners, with new total votes. Engrs. Camering, Demdam, and Larion, Bermudez, Fetalvero, Cometa, Cornelio Jr., Arib, Dy and Perater Jr., all had their votes respectively reduced by several hundreds.  Engrs. None of them were previously informed, much less given an opportunity to be heard, on the matter.


Again, Engrs. Catalan, Pantoja, and now also Engr. Larion, were deleted and replaced by Engrs. Cruz and Mamawal; Engr. Dela Cruz was replaced by Engr. Bacalso; and Engr. Perater Jr. was replaced by Engr. Alan Rufila. None of the replaced candidates were informed nor afforded a hearing.


And worse again, the Comelec does not state which NCR tally sheets were invalidated, and it does not appear that any PSME Chapter was previously informed or given a chance to be heard regarding any invalidation of its votes. The arbitrary selection of the number of 999 votes, and resultant disenfranchisement of 999 voters, is also unexplained.


At this point, the Comelec’s many changes in its report of winners from the proclamation made on October 25, 2015, also shows that its acts were whimsical and capricious, and they were made in abuse of their powers and functions.


Proceeding from that unlawful, abusive and tyrannical proclamation on Nov. 22, 2015, Comelec alleged that eight of the directors-elect that it proclaimed on Nov. 22, 2015, convened in a meeting on Nov. 25, 2015 and elected the following 2016 National Officers.


President                                  - Engr. Leonardo A. Conti

Executive Vice-President           - Engr. Jaime Jajay E. Cruz

Vice-President – Internal           - Engr. Alipio N. Bacalso, Jr.

Vice-President – External          - Engr. Alan E. Rufila

Vice-President – Technical         - Engr. Vitaliano F. Mamawal III

Secretary                                  - Engr. Lemie S. Leonida

Treasurer                                 - Engr. Robert S. Dy

Vice-President – NCR               - Engr. Edgardo C. Camering

Vice-President – Luzon             - Engr. Willy C. Bermudez

Vice-President – Visayas           - Engr. Joemarie A. Arib

Vice-President – Mindanao       - Engr. Roberto E. Sollano

Director                                   - Engr. Murry F. Demdam

Director                                   - Engr. Diosdado F. Fetalvero

Director                                   - Engr. Leonardo M. Cometa

Director                                   - Engr. Nardito M. Cornelio, Jr.,


The Comelec report is a complete lie. Of the 15 listed individuals, eight (8) Engineers deny their attendance, asserting that they were never present to attend the supposed Nov. 25, 2015 election. These eight are Engrs. Dy, Camering, Bermudez, Arib, Demdam, Fetalvero, Cometa, and Cornelio Jr. The supposed meeting could not have convened nor continued with a quorum.


For that reason, the supposed Nov. 25, 2015 event is not a valid meeting, and any action therein was void and ineffectual.


Defendants cannot argue supposed teleconferencing because the meeting violated SEC Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 2001 (November 20, 2001), which specify the requirements for a Board meeting through teleconferencing.


On the other hand, on Nov. 28, 2015 the PSME National Board convened. The Comelec refused to attend despite due notice. And since the Comelec’s action was a mere facility to have the meeting, and the intention of PSME’s constitutive documents was for the directors-elect to elect the officers from among themselves, the Board was constrained to pass Resolution No. 2015-64 rejecting and impugning the Nov. 22, 2015 and Nov. 25, 2015 acts of the Comelec as having been made in excess of authority.


Further, because of the Comelec’s refusal to convene the Directors-Elect proclaimed on Oct. 25, 2015, the Board was constrained to convene them, and they validly elected the following 2016 National Officers:


President                                - Engr. Murry F. Demdam

Executive Vice-President       - Engr. Leonardo M. Cometa

Vice-President – Internal       - Engr. Edgardo C. Camering

Vice-President – External       - Engr. Emmanuel Y. De la Cruz

Vice-President – Technical     - Engr. Nardito M. Cornelio Jr.

Secretary                                 - Engr. Lorenzo P. Larion

Treasurer                                - Engr. Loreto G. Catalan

Vice-President – NCR             - Engr. Edgardo C. Camering

Vice-President – Luzon          - Engr. Diosdado F. Fetalvero

Vice-President – Visayas        - Engr. Joemarie A. Arib

Vice-President – Mindanao    - Engr. Feliciano C. Perater Jr.

Auditor                                   - Engr. Robert S. Dy

Director                                  - Engr. Willy C. Bermudez


Recently, the illegal officers led by Engr. Conti as supposed President, filed a case against the National Board alleging that they were the 2016 directors-elect. The trial court denied their prayer to stop the Nov. 28, 2015 meeting. At the first hearing, the illegal officer’s prayer for an extended temporary restraining order was also not granted. The court just scheduled the case for a next hearing in January 18. The illegal officers are now trying to amend their failed complaint.


However, the illegal officers are also now circumventing the facts and they are reportedly informing and misleading third parties in their claim to be the supposed 2016 national officers. The truth is nonetheless clear. The true Directors-Elect had been validly proclaimed by the Comelec on Oct. 25, 2015 during the Convention. The Comelec’s acts on Nov. 7, 22, and 25, 2015 in complicity with the illegal officers are unlawful, unjust, and also violative of the constitutive documents of the PSME.



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