OUTGOING Central Student Council (CSC) President Janela Love Nartates believes a special election is a better solution than declaring candidates who lost to “abstain” as winners in the April student polls.
Nartates spoke at length on the election mess for the first time following the Central Judiciary Board’s widely criticized decision to proclaim those who lost to the abstentions, including lone presidential bet Steven Grecia of Lakas Tomasino Coalition.
“[T]he legality of the appeal kasi `yung nanaig [but] for me I’d go talaga for special elections because I believe `yun ang gusto ng Thomasian community,” Nartates told Varsitarian.
Nartates, one of the five members of the little-known judiciary board, said she respected the legality of the decision but pointed out that students’ voices should be heard.
“[K]ung pwede lang ituloy `yung magkaroon ng special elections [that’s] better, but with all the things we saw sa appeal, [the decision] came out like that,” Nartates said.
Only Nartates, who wrote “I DISSENT” on the signature page of the Monday ruling of the judiciary board, disagreed with the decision.
She clarified that she opposed the appeals of the losing candidates even before the board’s hearings, but was overruled by other members of judiciary board.
The judiciary body on Monday decided to nullify “abstain” votes during the April student council elections. It ordered the UST 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.
Other members of the judiciary board are Office of Student Affairs Director Arlene Calara, Faculty of Canon Law Student Council President Glen Mar Gamboa, UST legal counsel Alfonso Verzosa, and legal coordinator Elgin Michael Perez.
The Central Judiciary Board is in charge of impeachment cases and appeals. It also reviews Comelec rulings.
Nartates raised the possibility of impeaching the losing candidates, but added that the CSC Constitution must be amended to prevent similar problems in the future.
“Sa nababasa ko ngayon, [impeachment] ang gusto mangyari ng students, `yung iba pa nga gusto na sila pababain kahit hindi pa nakaupo,” she said.
Article 12 Section 1 of the CSC Constitution states that a member of the student council may be impeached because of violation of the constitution, negligence of duties, grave misconduct, and lack of moral power to govern the student body.
The judiciary board will decide the case should an impeachment be initiated by one-third of the CSC members or by any student, as stated in Article 12 Section 3 of the CSC Constitution.
A source told the Varsitarian that the incoming Central Board, composed of presidents of student councils of the different colleges and faculties, was working on a motion for the judiciary board to reconsider its controversial decision.
Article 8 Section 6 of the CSC Constitution states that all decisions of the judiciary board will take effect 10 calendar days from the receipt of the notice.