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Monday, May 20, 2024

What went down during the UST 2024 election season?

4 min readFrom the filing of candidacies last February until the Proklamasyon on April 27th, let's look at some of what transpired during the University's Central Student Council (CSC) and local student council elections.
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Photos from the Artlets Student Council, Central Student Council, and Science Student Council Facebook Pages

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From the filing of candidacies last February until the Proklamasyon on April 27th, let's look at some of what transpired during the University's Central Student Council (CSC) and local student council elections.

No CSC bets left

Artwork by Miguel Angelo Sumalinog/TomasinoWeb

Artwork by Miguel Angelo Sumalinog/TomasinoWeb

With seven candidates at the starting line, the CSC was left with no contenders by the time the voting period began after the candidates withdrew amidst the alleged violations of student rights at the University.

On Wednesday, March 20, six CSC candidates–Timothy John Santiago, John Matthew Enriquez, Hannah Patricia Calara, Hanah Lauren de Leon, Josh Kenn Viray, and Francine Tuazon–retracted their candidacies, citing the 'repressive system' in the University.

This left Stephan Aseron, a candidate for auditor, as the only candidate for any CSC position. However, he also withdrew two days later, echoing the sentiments of the other former candidates in his statement.

Earlier, a candidate for treasurer, Mike Roper Cobarrubias, withdrew his candidacy before the final list of candidates for the elections was released.

In the local student council elections, two candidates also withdrew their candidacies: Mary Frances Therese Gutierrez, a candidate for the public relations officer post in the College of Education Student Council, withdrew due to personal reasons; while Kharisa Gutierrez, candidate for secretary of the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council, did not disclose any reason for her withdrawal.

The elections were held from April 22 to 27.

Election heat in Raymund’s matches PH’s sweltering summer

Photo by Ricardo Magpoc Jr./TomasinoWeb

Photo by Ricardo Magpoc Jr./TomasinoWeb

Turnout at the Faculty of Arts and Letters local council elections reached only 38.03 percent as candidates and parties had several campaign suspensions and temporary disqualifications.

Only 1,352 of the 3,555-strong student body of AB voted, with their local council elections earning the record of the lowest voter turnout among faculties and colleges this year.

Aside from the low voter turnout, AB’s local elections was marred by accusations of violations of election rules.

The AB Commission on Elections (Comelec) temporarily suspended Tindig-AB, the only political party in the faculty, from campaigning on April 13 after failing to submit the required web site of their campaign materials within the given time frame. Kevin Christian Crisolo, a then-candidate for Vice President-Internal, also received the same ruling for the same violation two days later.

Following these temporary suspensions, candidate for secretary Kharisa Gutierrez withdrew her candidacy on April 16.

On April 18, the AB Comelec refused support for an election forum organized by The Flame, the official student publication of the faculty. The AB Comelec in a statementsaid that they cannot officially sanction the event based on technical reasons relating to election rules. The event still pushed through on April 19.

Two more candidates were temporarily barred from campaigning on April 20. Raymond Janfred Quinto, who ran for president, also violated the same rule that Tindig-AB and Crisolo violated. Meanwhile, Nomer Jacinto, then-candidate for vice president-internal, was temporarily suspended from campaigning after being seen sharing publication material containing his credentials, which, according to the AB Comelec, was still an act of campaigning.

A day before the proclamation of winners, on April 26, Tindig-AB received another temporary disqualification from the election following other campaign violations. On the same day, the political party’s presidential candidate, Justine Claire Ello, secretary bet Amaya Cabiling, and public relations officer candidate Frances Tongco, were also temporarily barred from participating in the elections from April 26 until April 29.

Meanwhile, independent presidential candidate Gabriel Gabrillo was also temporarily disqualified after committing campaign violations.

Tindig-AB and the affected candidates appealed the AB Comelec’s rulings.

Science-SC candidates dismayed over miting de avance lapses

Photo by Ricardo Magpoc Jr./TomasinoWeb

Photo by Ricardo Magpoc Jr./TomasinoWeb

Candidates in the College of Science Student Council (CSSC) Elections criticized their local Commission on Elections due to problems they experienced during their local miting de avance.

The College of Science Journal reported that the miting de avance, titled Tapatan 2024, was delayed for one hour and was shown on Google Meet instead of the promised Facebook Live. The four-hour program was watched by only 50 viewers out of about 2,000 students in the college.

Executive Board Candidates were allowed to campaign from April 15 to 20, except for the period when the miting de avance was scheduled to take place.

The recording of the program was posted on the local Comelec Facebook page on the night of April 26–just after the voting period ended and seven days after the event and campaign period. However, these were still incomplete, as the introduction portion of the program was not recorded and posted in full.

The College of Science Comelec (CS Comelec) posted campaign materials of the sole election party, Lakas-LOOB, on social media in compensation for the technical problems they encountered during the event. However, Lakas-LOOB requested CS-Comelec to take down the materials posted on Facebook due to a lack of consent from the party and the candidates.

Candidates were also dissatisfied with a quickfire round during the miting de avance. Speaking to the CS Journal, presidential bet Kevin Escosar said the round effectively restricted the answers they could give while also leaving out room for constructive dialogue.

The Science Comelec posted an apology for the fiasco on April 26 and a separate so-called "statement of accountability" on April 29.

"Technical issues in editing the MDA recording (approximately 4 hours long) caused it to be posted only in the evening of April 26," CS-Comelec said.

Central Board assumes CSC roles

Photo from the UST Central Student Council Facebook Page

Photo from the UST Central Student Council Facebook Page

Members of the Central Board (CB) will assume posts on the highest student body of the University following the leadership vacuum in the Central Student Council (CSC), the Central Comelec said after proclaiming the winners of local student councils on April 27.

CB is the legislative body of the CSC and is composed of top officials from local colleges and faculties in the University.

Based on Article VII of the CSC Constitution, the CB is “responsible for formulating policies, rules, and regulations directly affecting the welfare and interest of the students in pursuance of the objectives and principles outlined in this constitution.”

The CB has its own set of officers elected by the members: speaker, deputy speaker, and secretary-general, according to the Rules of the Central Board promulgated in April 2022.

The Speaker serves as the convenor and presiding officer of the CB during sessions.

However, only presidents of local student councils shall be elected to a CB position based on the same document.

Before the leave of absence of Timothy John Santiago to bid for the CSC Presidency, he was a former CB speaker following the impeachment of its former speaker on the local student council last November.

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UST Central Student Council

Artlets Student Council

Science Student Council

UST Central Board

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