THOMASIANS have expressed dismay over the Central Judiciary Board’s (CJB) decision to proclaim candidates who lost to “abstain” votes as winners of the April student polls.
Central Student Council (CSC) Public Relations Officer-elect Francis Santos and Secretary-elect Therese Gorospe said they were saddened by the decision.
“For the record, I respect those candidates, but I believe the will of the community (manifested in the elections) must prevail,” Santos said in a text message.
“It’s unfair to the Thomasian community… [but] we should respect the decision kahit na nakakalungkot,” Gorospe said.
Reymark Simbulan, president of the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council, said he was disappointed but understood the decision’s legal basis.
“I wouldn’t want the [judiciary board] nor the Thomasians to undermine the thousands of votes of ‘abstain’ that have clearly surpassed those of the complaining candidates,” he said.
“The Central Board [composed of all local student council presidents] is planning to have a meeting to determine our succeeding action about this matter,” he added.
Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa) Chairwoman Angela Sesbreño said the losing candidates should respect the voice of the students.
“It wasn’t easy on our end, to be honest, yet, we value the decision of the students,” Sesbreño said, adding that Lakasdiwa party was considering filing a motion for reconsideration before the board.
For Christopher Jefferson Ignacio, a third- year information technology student, the decision was a “big disrespect” to the students who voted in the elections.
“[Abstain is] there for a reason and the students have already made a choice,” Ignacio said.
Biology senior Denise Martinez, who ran under Lakasdiwa in the College of Science elections, pointed out that the decision was based on a technicality.
“For me, nadali lahat sa technicality ng election code. [But] it is not okay na we have to suffer when the voice of the majority spoke na ayaw talaga nila sa candidate,” she said.
Philosophy sophomore Louie Lloyd Octava called for respect for the individual votes of the students.
“Ano pa po ‘yung point ng may abstain sa ballots, or for the whole election na, kung hindi rin po mava-validate ‘yung decisions namin?” Octava said.
The little-known judiciary board released on Monday its decision to nullify “abstain” votes during the April student council elections. It ordered the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) to proclaim the candidates with the highest votes as winners.
With the decision, candidates from Lakas Tomasino Coalition will assume the vacant posts. They are Steven Grecia (12,596 votes) as president, Gabriela Sepulchre (10,130 votes) as vice president, Daveson Nieto (9,446 votes) as treasurer and Richard Javier (10,212 votes) as auditor.
Comelec has yet to release a resolution on the official proclamation of winners.
The CJB is in charge of impeachment cases, appeals and Comelec rulings. It is composed of the University legal counsel Alfonso Versoza, legal coordinator Elgin Michael Perez, Office for Student Affairs Director Arlene Calara, Canon Law Student Council President Glen Mar Gamboa and outgoing CSC President Janela Love Nartates.
Only outgoing CSC President Janela Love Nartates dissented with the judiciary board’s decision.
Nartates, who wrote “I DISSENT” on the signature page of the ruling, has yet to comment on the decision. With reports from Roy Abrahamn D.R. Narra