THE LOSING party in the recent Central Student Council (CSC) elections has appealed before the University’s highest disciplinary board, calling for the nullification of the victories of two winning candidates.

In a 24-page complaint filed before the Central Judiciary Board (CJB) last March 6, Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa) said the UST Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) “committed a grave abuse of discretion when it promptly announced another set of winners.”

“The Comelec acted beyond the authority granted by the Students’ Election Code of 2007 (SEC),” Lakasdiwa said in the complaint.

Comelec announced the first set of winners last Feb. 22, a day after the rescheduled manual elections in the College of Fine Arts and Design.

Lakasdiwa claimed the Central Comelec disregarded due process by retracting the victories of its candidates Guammer Partosa and Jan Michael Borja in the vice presidential and public relations officer races, respectively, last March 5. They were replaced by Raymond Angelo Gonzales and Cris Angelo Salazar of rival party Lakas Tomasino Coalition.

The Comelec inadvertently failed to count the election returns from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences. A second count overturned the results, giving way to the proclamation of Gonzales and Salazar.

For Comelec chief Glen Camille Buendia, the issue is “over.”

“Apparently, there’s no grave abuse of discretion since we just upheld the truth by admitting that we failed to double-check the results,” she said. “I don’t think the credibility and integrity of the electoral process, particularly the voting and canvassing, were tainted since all electronic election returns, with exceptions to the College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) and Education High School, were handled by the Education Technology Center.”

Debate group wins contest

But Lakasdiwa argued that the Comelec resorted to procedures and remedies not called for by the SEC and CSC Constitution.

“The Comelec announced a new set of results showing a different set of winning candidates without any formal or clear instruction of what would happen to the two [previously] proclaimed candidates,” Lakasdiwa said.

The Comelec said reinstating the Lakasdiwa bets would be impossible.

“It’s the Thomasians’ decision, not ours. Besides, there is no legal basis to nullify the final announcement of winners,” Buendia said.

‘Invalid’ complaint

The Comelec also said Lakasdiwa’s complaint was “invalid” because it was not duly signed by the party’s officers.

“We didn’t receive a formal complaint from Lakasdiwa but only a complaint they sent through e-mail without signature. Thus it is deemed as not filed,” Buendia said. “They said that they’ll give us a hard copy of the complaint, but we never received any.”

But Lakasdiwa legal officer Corsico Espiritu said the party sent the complaint to Comelec with their officers “affirming” it.

The CJB, composed of Assistant to the Rector for Student Affairs Evelyn Songco, UST legal aide Elgin Perez, AMV-College of Accountancy Student Welfare and Development Board coordinator Beth Inoturan, and Civil Law Student Council president Lester Lomeda, has yet to announce its final decision. R. D. Madrid


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