THE LONE accredited political party Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa) will go against independent candidates in this year’s campus polls.

Eyeing the presidency are incumbent Central Student Council (CSC) secretary and fourth-year Clinical Pharmacy student Rosevielentine Rosales and third-year Management Accounting student Anna Mariz Mangalili. Rosales runs under the banner of Lakasdiwa while Mangalili, the incumbent assistant secretary of Accountancy Student Council, is an independent.

Incumbent CSC auditor Patricia Alexis Canoza (independent), a second-year Tourism student, and incumbent Architecture Student Council Vice President John Louis Tingzon (Lakasdiwa), a fourth-year Architecture student, are running for vice president.

Two third-year Faculty of Arts and Letters students—Communication Arts major Nazka Alecksia Tantay (Lakasdiwa) and Political Science major Maria Yvonne Erica Yap (independent)—vie for the position of secretary.

For treasurer, Management Accounting junior Lene Benette Gabriel of Lakasdiwa will compete against independent candidate Marketing Management freshman Roi Sergio Rey.

Vying for the position of auditor are CSC Chief of Staff Zeth Renae Raquedan (independent), a third-year Medical Technology student, and Financial Management freshman Veronica Raye Jalandoni (Lakasdiwa).

Lakasdiwa’s bet for public relations officer (PRO) Interior Design sophomore Justin Miguel Co, who is the incumbent College of Fine Arts and Design PRO, will go head-to-head with independent candidate and first-year Chemical Engineering student Ranel Simon Rey.

In the 2014 elections, the 10-year-old LTC, which failed to obtain its accreditation for this year’s campus polls, won four out of the six CSC executive board positions, including the presidency. The two-decade-old Lakasdiwa won the posts of vice president and secretary.

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Disqualification cases

On March 23, the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) withheld the candidacies of six independent bets for CSC posts, following disqualification cases filed against them by Lakasdiwa on grounds that they are “not really independent candidates in the strictest sense of the phrase.”

“We are advised to hold [the official announcement of the independent] candidacies while the En Banc is still deciding on the matter,” Central Comelec Chairperson Julia Unarce said in a press conference.

According to the complaint, independent candidates should be “free from control, influence, and support of any political party in the University.”

“We believe that it is high time for the Comelec to rule on the matter of political parties masquerading as independent candidates,” read the complaint signed by Lakasdiwa legal officer Ronn Robby Rosales and Lakasdiwa Chairperson Eula Andre San Juan.

Yap, the independent candidate running for the position of CSC Secretary, does not deny that she is a member of the Student’s Democratic Party (SDP) but said it was only a local political party.

“We are talking about my candidacy in a larger scope. This is a University-wide candidacy,” she said. “We all know that SDP is a college-based political party and I cannot run under its banner.”

A separate plea was filed by Lakasdiwa to bar independent candidate Rey from running as CSC treasurer, claiming that Rey is listed as one of the party’s members.

“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.

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A day after the complaints were filed, the Central Comelec rejected the petition of Lakasdiwa to disqualify all independent candidates in this year’s CSC elections.

“We find no merit in the petition of Lakasdiwa to disqualify the contested independent candidates,” according to a resolution released March 24. “Lakasdiwa failed to provide clear and convincing evidence that would support [its] contention relative to the intent of the respondents running as independent candidates.”

The Central Comelec also dismissed Lakasdiwa’s separate plea seeking Rey’s declaration of ineligibility to run for office.

“There is nothing [in] the records of the Central Comelec and the Commerce Comelec that would support [Lakasdiwa’s] contention that the respondent is a member of Lakasdiwa,” the Comelec said.

Mangalili said she and other independent candidates had informed the Central Comelec that they were planning to file a petition for a one-day extension to campaign since they were unable to start campaigning on the first day of the campaign period due to the disqualification complaints.

The mandatory debate is on April 15, which is also the last day of the campaign period. The CSC elections will be from April 14 to 17. Winners of local and University-wide elections will be announced on April 17 at the Plaza Mayor.

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