March 24, 2015, 2:45 p.m. – THE CENTRAL Commission on
Elections (Comelec) has withheld the candidacies of six independent bets for
Central Student Council (CSC) posts following disqualification cases filed
against them by Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa), the only recognized
university-wide political party this academic year.

Comelec Chairperson Julia Unarce said the poll body had
received eligibility complaints against Anna Mariz Mangalili, incumbent CSC
Auditor Patricia Alexis Canoza, Maria Yvonne Erica Yap, Roi Sergio Rey, CSC
Chief of Staff Zeth Renae Raquedan, and Ranel Simon Rey.

“We are advised to hold [the official announcement of the
independent] candidacies while the En Banc is still deciding on the matter,”
Unarce said in a press conference. According to the Lakasdiwa complaint,
independent candidates should be “free from control, influence, and support of
any political party in the University.”

“Several print screen images of online posts of some
independents attached in the complaint establish the fact that they are not
really independent candidates in the strictest sense of the phrase,” read the
complaint signed by Lakasdiwa legal officer Ronn Robby Rosales and Lakasdiwa
Chairperson Eula Andre San Juan. “We believe that it is high time for the
Comelec to rule on the matter of political parties masquerading as independent

A separate plea was filed by the political party to bar
independent candidate Roy Sergio Rey from running as CSC treasurer. Lakasdiwa
claims that Rey is listed as its member, as shown in documents held by the
Central Comelec.

“He failed to execute and serve us a copy of any resignation
or disaffiliation prerequisite to his endeavor to run as an independent
candidate,” the complaint read. “It can be gleaned from his situation that he
intends to put mockery and dispute to the electoral process by enlisting
himself as a member of Lakasdiwa then subsequently running as an independent
candidate. Any knowledge that he [had] acquired [as] a Lakasdiwa member can be
used in our prejudice.”

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The decision to suspend the official announcement of the
independent candidacies was advised by Central Comelec Adviser and Student
Welfare and Development Board Director Antonio Chua, and legal officer James
Christian Ballecer.

Unarce said the Comelec En Banc, the highest decision-making
body of the commission composed of representatives from all 20 colleges and
faculties of the University, was set to convene at 6 p.m. last night “to decide
on the eligibility [of the candidates] and on the grounds of the filed

According to the UST Student Election Code of 2011, the
Comelec En Banc has five days to decide on matters of protest filed against any
particular party.

Copies of the complaints were given to the independent
candidates to allow them to respond, said Unarce. Should the independent
candidates be disqualified, they are allowed to file a motion for
reconsideration before the Comelec En Banc.

On-hold independent presidential candidate Mangalili said
there was no reason for her to be disqualified because she was “not guilty of

“Hindi ako papayag na hayaan ko[ng] mawalan ng karapatan ang
Thomasians na pumili kung sino talaga [ang] gusto nilang leader,” Mangalili
said in an interview.

Meanwhile, the candidacies of Lakasdiwa bets were officially
approved. The Lakasdiwa bets are incumbent CSC Secretary Rosevielentine
Rosales, who will run for president; John Louis Tingzon for vice-president;
Alecksia Tantay for secretary; Lene Benette Gabriel for treasurer; Veronica
Raye Jalandoni for auditor; and Justin Miguel Co for Public Relations Officer.

Lakasdiwa was the only party allowed to field candidates in
this year’s CSC elections, after the Comelec denied accreditation to the ruling
Lakas Tomasino Coalition, which failed to submit some requirements on time, and
Alyansa ng Kristiyanong Lakas.

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Though their official candidacies were put on hold, the
independent candidates were allowed to join the press conference and be
interviewed by the media.

But, they are not yet allowed to participate in the 12-day
campaign period, which will be from March 24 to 28 and April 7 to 15, until the
Comelec En Banc releases its official decision on the matter. Bianca
Kristin A. Taray and Jerome P. Villanueva


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