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Letter to PRC from Atty Mercado in behalf of 2016 PSME President Dr. Murry F. Demdam

Posted By Administration, Saturday, January 02, 2016
Updated: Saturday, January 02, 2016

 Letter to PRC from Atty Mercado in Behalf of 2016 PSME National President Dr. Murry F. Demdam


December 28, 2015


Hon. Angeline T. Chua Chiaco

Acting Chairperson

Professional Regulation Commission



Dear Acting Chairperson Chua Chiaco:


We write in behalf of our client, Engr. Murry Demdam (Ph.D., MBA, PME) who is the incoming National President of the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME), as well as other PSME 2016 National Officers who were duly elected as such on November 28, 2015.


Our attention was brought to your letter of Dec. 18, 2015 addressed to the PSME, stating that the PRC recognizes the 2016 officers declared by the PSME COMELEC and further “recognizes Engr. Leandro A. Conti as the 2016 National President of the PSME”. Your letter mentions a legal opinion of the PRC’s Legal Division, but no copy thereof is attached.


Your letter also says that the foregoing statements were made pursuant to the Dec. 11, 2015 letter to PRC of PSME President Engr. Pablito Ocampo. However, said letter of Pres. Ocampo did not ask for any resolution to be made by PRC. It merely informed the PRC about the PSME 2016 National Officers that were duly elected on Nov. 28, 2015, and is headed by our client Dr. Demdam as National President. They are as follows:


President                                - Engr. Murry F. Demdam

Executive Vice-President       - Engr. Leonardo M. Cometa

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

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

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

Secretary                                 - Engr. Lorenzo P. Larion

Treasurer                                - Engr. Loreto G. Catalan

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

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

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

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

Auditor                                   - Engr. Robert S. Dy

MIDO                                     - Engr. Willy C. Bermudez


The basis for our clients’ election as National Officers is clear.


The PSME held its 63rd National Convention & General Membership Meeting on Oct. 21-24, 2015. Due to events to be completed, it extended into the early hours of Oct. 25, 2015. The PSME elected 15 Directors-Elect for 2016 during the Convention pursuant to its Amended By-Laws (“By-Laws”), Amended Omnibus Election Code (“Amended Election Code”); and Policy Manual (“Manual”). The pertinent 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)


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 xxx elect a new set of members of the Board of Directors for the following year.” (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.” (Manual)


The election was peaceful and orderly and no untoward incident happened. The canvassing of votes was made from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. of Oct. 24, 2015. Indeed at around 12:25 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015, after the canvass was done, Engr. Jericho Borja filed a pre-proclamation protest questioning alleged acceptance of Manila Host ballots after the 5 p.m. deadline, and ballots of Manila allegedly have identical penmanship. NO OTHER PROTEST WAS FILED.


The PSME COMELEC deliberated on the protest, and at 2:40 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015, it dismissed Engr. Borja’s protest. It ruled that the ballots were accepted before 5 p.m. and ballots may have identical penmanship because voting by proxy was allowed. Since no other protest was filed, at 3 a.m. of Oct. 25, 2015, the COMELEC came out together, faced the members at the Convention, and presented a Tally Sheet that they duly signed and certified as correct. None of the members, including Engr. Leandro Conti who was present, raised any question or issue.


COMELEC Member Engr. Ely Bagtasus then announced that in behalf of his Comelec colleagues, he will read the names of the 15 candidates with highest votes according to the regional allocation. Notably, he used the word “proclaim” without objection from his Comelec colleagues Engrs. Gilbert Fuentecilla and Reynaldo Uy who were standing beside him. Engr. Conti who was present also raised no objection to the proclamation. In fine, the COMELEC did not make any reservation to the proclamation. The COMELEC did not say that the proclamation was not official. Thus the transcribed voiced recording of Engr. Bagtasus’ words were:


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


The proceedings should have continued for the directors-elect to elect from among themselves the 2016 national officers, but since many members had gone home and it was already dawn, the election of officers was decided to be made at a later time. Therefore, with the proclamation completed at the close of the Convention, PSME National President Ocampo forthwith adjourned and closed the Convention.


Therefore, the COMELEC had complied with its duties, under Amended Election Code; and the Manual. In sum, the votes were canvassed, the results were certified and signed by COMELEC, and the winners were 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.” (Manual)


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


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


Section 9.5.4          Agenda and Program –

“xxx   xxx   xxx

Evening       Announcement of Election Results

                    Recapitulation and Closing of Convention.” (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.” (Manual)


Again according to the By-Laws; Amended Election Code; and the Manual, the proceedings should have continued in the convention with the election among the proclaimed 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.” (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.” (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”



The foregoing provisions show a common spirit and intention for the directors-elect to assemble soonest after their election to elect among themselves the national officers. The only mention of a participation of COMELEC is in Sec. 21 of the Amended Election Code, and clearly that action is merely to facilitate the meeting of the directors-elect.


Therefore, the Comelec officially transmitted the above election results to the National Board, as evidenced by the endorsement received by the Board at 3 a.m. of October 25, 2015. The endorsement was signed by all Comelec members. Even Engr. Conti concurred. At exactly 11:15:25 of Oct. 25, 2015, he sent an email confirming the validity of the Comelec proclamation and acknowledging the above results by thanking all who supported his candidacy.


Out of mere courtesy, the directors-elect subsequently waited for COMELEC to convene them for the election of national officers. From then, the proclaimed directors-elect had a right to convene in a meeting to elect the officers. The Amended By-laws of the PSME, as a charter document, of course prevails over its other guiding documents.


Instead, in a letter to the Board dated Oct. 27, 2015, and 2 days after the Convention, COMELEC Chairman Fuentecilla again unilaterally reported the official election result, BUT HE CHANGED THE LIST OF WINNERS by replacing Engr. Catalan with Engr. Isagani Pantoja. This violated Section 18 of the Amended Election Code, which states that the correction of errors in the certificates of canvass is not allowed. The letter does not say that Engr. Pantoja protested. Engr. Catalan also confirms that he was not called to any hearing about his replacement.


Then irregularly in the same letter, Chairman Fuentecilla mentioned a protest of Engr. Conti received in the same day Oct. 27, 2015. The protest was not verified. Chairman Fuentecilla, however explained in the letter that the protest had already been acted upon and one “NCR” tally sheet with 500 votes was invalidated. At the end of the letter, he then specified a RADICALLY CHANGED (THIRD) LIST OF WINNERS.


Thus, in addition to the removal of Engr. Catalan, the votes of Engrs. Camering, Cometa, Demdam, Larion, Bermudez, Fetalvero, Cornelio Jr., Leonida, Arib, Sollano, Dy and Perater Jr., were each reduced by 500 votes. None of them were summoned to any hearing about it. As a result, Engrs. Pantoja and Dela Cruz, were also replaced by Engrs. Jaime Cruz and Alipio Bacalso. Engrs. Catalan, Pantoja and Dela Cruz were never called to any hearing about their replacement. Chairman Fuentecilla’s letter did not say which NCR tally sheet was invalidated. No Chapter from which the supposedly invalidated tally sheet came was given a chance to be heard regarding the invalidation of 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 an undisclosed “NCR” chapter. The apparent haste in that COMELEC action, coupled with its lack of transparency, only questions the motivation of the COMELEC, and leads to the conclusion that the COMELEC ruling was haphazard, unjust, and railroaded.


A reading of the constitutive documents of PSME shows that the intention of its election procedures is for the election to be closed together with the adjournment of the Convention, SO THAT THE SOCIETY CAN MOVE FORWARD, AND THE DIRECTORS-ELECT AND INCOMING OFFICERS CAN START PLANNING TO MOVE INTO THE NEXT YEAR. To interpret that the PSME COMELEC has limitless and continuing authority after the Convention negates the spirit of the above quoted provisions of the By-Laws, Amended Election Code and Manual. Such an interpretation would be absurd, whimsical and tyrannical.


To settle the matter, on Nov. 14, 2015, the PSME Board passed Resolution No. 2015-59, saying that COMELEC was in excess of its duty to entertain or hear protests that were not verified; and since COMELEC failed to convene the winning candidates for the election of the 2016 Officers immediately after proclaiming the winners on Oct. 25, 2015, it directed the COMELEC and the candidates proclaimed on Oct. 25, 2015, to attend the Special Board Meeting on Nov. 28, 2015, for the purpose of electing the 2016 National Officers.


Instead of complying, and in a clear attempt to pre-empt the Board’s intention, the COMELEC (in obvious complicity with certain losing candidates) wrote the Board saying that the COMELEC further acted on various protests of Engrs. Conti, Cruz, Paspe, Nicolas, Rufila, and Bacalso, and had then again invalidated 999 votes from the “NCR” Chapter. And the COMELEC also reported 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 now further reduced by several hundreds.  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 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.


Worse again, COMELEC does not state which NCR tally sheets were invalidated, and no Chapter was 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.


The COMELEC later announced that eight of the fifteen supposed winners convened on Nov. 25, 2015 to elect the officers. THIS IS A COMPLETE LIE! Eight of the 15 in the list attest that they were not present in any such meeting. These eight are: Engrs. Edgardo Camering, Willy Bermudez, Joemarie Arib, Robert Dy, Diosdado Fetalvero, Leonardo Cometa, Nardito Cornelio Jr., and Murry Demdam. Therefore, only seven at most could have attended.


The foregoing actions of the PSME COMELEC are clearly unlawful and abusive, whimsical and tyrannical, capricious and made in a haphazard manner. More importantly, the COMELEC violated all principles of due process and fair play.  As such, at the Special Meeting of the PSME National Board, the PSME 2016 National Officers as listed in the first page of this letter were duly elected.


THEREFORE, the PRC’s action of giving undeserved and unsolicited recognition to Engr. Conti as the supposed incoming President of the PSME exceeds the mandate and authority of the PRC. The PRC cannot interfere with internal affairs of the PSME. There is no pending case before your office.


            To prevent confusion and tension within the PSME and to maintain the unity among its ranks, we join the PSME in its FINAL DEMAND made upon you to recall and void your December 18, 2015 letter within two (2) days from your receipt of this letter.  Otherwise, we shall be constrained to file and pursue all appropriate civil, criminal and administrative actions and proceedings against you, with appropriate claims for damages suffered by our clients.



                                                            Very truly yours,                                                       



                                                            (ATTY.) CHARLES P. A. MERCADO               





Office of the President

Malacañang, Manila



Hon. Conchita Carpio Morales


Ombudsman Building, Agham Road

North Triangle, Diliman, Quezon City 1101



Hon. Sen. Teofisto D. Guingona III

c/o BROOM (Blue Ribbon)

Accountability of Public Officers Committee

Philippine Senate, Manila



Hon. Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV

Committee on Civil Service, Govt. Reorganization

And professional Regulation,

Philippine Senate, Manila



Hon. Sen. Pia S. Cayetano

Philippine Senate, Manila



Director-General Rodolfo Noel S. Quimbo

BROOM (Blue Ribbon)

Philippine Senate, Manila      

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