LEGALITY OF PHILIPPINES EPISCOPAL ELECTIONS RULES
This memorandum relates to a request from the Philippines Central Conference which led to JCM 1249. My observations about that memorandum were that the Council was not enforcing their need for full documentation. The Council’s rules of practice and procedure were amended this April to clarify that minutes of the time when a request for a ruling is made must be part of the materials submitted. The failure on this prevents the Council from making a decision.
From this memorandum, it is clear that despite there being no rule requiring it, efforts were made prior to the Council session of Fall, 2013, to obtain the minutes and some other materials. Because those materials were not sent, JCM 1249 was handed down saying no ruling could be made for lack of full documentation. The Council may need to add to their rules that the Secretary and Clerk are authorized to seek additional documentation. That might help conference secretaries realize such requests are proper.
From what I have seen, various conference secretaries may not be taking minutes during certain conference actions. For example, minutes from the clergy session were not taken in several cases and therefore were unavailable to be sent in. Every conference at every level must have minutes taken. Not only should the secretary be made aware but so should the presider. While casual meetings may proceed more quickly, both officers have to realize that when a “legal” event occurs at the meeting or might occur at a later time in the meeting, minutes for that event must be taken even if not for most of the rest of the meeting’s actions.
Rules or not, the conferences where the requests for Council review occur must realize nothing can be done by the Council without all minutes and must join in the effort to get all documents in.
Advocates take note.
With respect to JCM 1260, despite efforts by Council officers to get full documentation, the Central Conference Secretary never did provide the minutes and so the Council once again remands the case back and retains jurisdiction. Time consuming as that is, it is better than making an arbitrary decision without full information, something the Council sometimes did in the past.
Update: Two typhoons have struck the Philippines this year and may have been a factor in lack of response to the Council’s request.