ELECTION officials have taken back the proclamations of two candidates in the hotly contested Central Student Council (CSC) polls, following errors in the vote count.

The March 5 decision led to the declaration of Raymond Angelo Gonzales of Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC) as the winner in the race for CSC vice president, and Cris Angelo Salazar as public relations officer or PRO.

Next academic year’s CSC will be dominated by LTC, which won a total of five positions versus Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino’s (Lakasdiwa) one winner.

Rubi Anne Dauan of LTC, who ran for president unopposed, got a total of 18,884 votes. Kendra Maxine Duran of LTC is the next CSC secretary, defeating Lakasdiwa’s Weejee Decena by just 411 votes. Duran got 11,713 votes while Decena had 11,302.

Joanna Loise Culianan, the lone winner from Lakasdiwa, is the next CSC treasurer. She got 11,680 votes, defeating John Paul Lazaro, who got 10,491 votes. The next CSC auditor is Via Guerrero of LTC, who got 12,318 votes against Lakasdiwa bet James Ariel David’s 10,347.

Voter turnout stood at 64.27 percent, with 26,864 students voting out of the UST student population of 41,799.

Winners were proclaimed last Feb. 22, but later that night, the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) discovered that votes from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences (CRS)—the bailiwick of LTC’s Gonzales—were not included in the tally. The Central Comelec unseated Guammer Partosa and Jan Michael Borja, Lakasdiwa vice presidential bet and PRO, respectively, a week after their proclamation, after the new vote tally changed the outcome of the polls.

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“[O]n February 22, 2012, the Central Commission on Elections announced the newly-elected Central Student Council. However, immediately after the announcement the commission realized that the election returns from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences [were] not included in the canvass of votes,” the Central Comelec said in a statement. “On February 27, 2012, the Commission clarified to both parties the said error.”

The election chief owned up to the blunders. Central Comelec chairperson Glen Camille Buendia however said the proclamation could have been retracted if classes were not suspended last Feb. 22-25 for the Neo-Centennial Retreat.

LTC’s Gonzales had a razor-thin margin of only 10 votes against Lakasdiwa’s Partosa. The former got 11,376 votes, while Partosa got 11,366. Without the votes from CRS, Partosa had 11,226, while Gonzales had 10,812 or a lead of 414 votes. Gonzales, who is the president of the CRS Student Council, obtained 564 votes from his home college, while Partosa had 140.

LTC’s Salazar was also saved by CRS voters, who gave him 445 votes against the 122 obtained by Lakasdiwa’s Borja. Overall, Salazar got 11,318 votes, or a lead of only 150 votes against Borja’s 11,168. Before the CRS votes were counted, Borja was ahead of Salazar by 105 votes.

Buendia said a chain of problems occurred after the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) decided to postpone elections due to its “thesis week.”

“CFAD suddenly moved the elections to Feb. 20-21 from Feb. 15-17 because there were no classes and CFAD was busy for its thesis week,” Buendia explained in Filipino. “All of us in Comelec panicked and we didn’t know what to do to allow students from CFAD to vote. After that, we weren’t able to double-check the results.”

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Buendia said errors occurred because of Comelec members’ exhaustion. The Central Comelec chief declined to go into details, saying the matter was “sensitive.”

Lakasdiwa plans to release a counter-statement, said Corsico Espiritu, the losing party’s legal affairs officer.

“Since we received the Comelec resolution just today (March 5), we still have to muster a quorum to discuss [the party’s] next legal action,” Espiritu told Varsitarian.

Lakasdiwa filed a legal case against the Central Comelec, and Gonzales and Salazar before the Central Judiciary Board, UST's highest disciplinary board, last March 9. Reden D. Madrid


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