April 24, 2016, 10:32p.m. – THE CENTRAL Board of Students called on the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Sunday to declare the Student Council elections a failure, after “technical difficulties” in the electronic voting system forced poll officials to postpone the announcement of winners.

The Central Board, the legislative body of the Central Student Council (CSC) composed of local student council presidents, issued a statement demanding Central Comelec officials to explain before a meeting tomorrow, Monday at 8 a.m.

It faulted the Central Comelec for “failing to release a statement regarding the postponement of the CSC election results, failing to publicize the implementing rules regarding the elections and holding a questionable election system pertaining to the usage of the student number as the username and password and the security features of the Blackboard as the system used for voting.”

Questioning the use of the Blackboard e-learning system for voting, the board claimed there were security lapses and said the Central Comelec must submit a statement from Blackboard operators in Australia and Singapore explaining why the electonic votes were not canvassed last April 22.

It threatened to bring the matter to the Student Welfare and Development Board. “We, the Central Board of Students, hereby request to hold the Proclamation of results of the UST Central Student Council elections and be (sic) considered invalid until full compliance of the UST Central Comelec,” the statement read. 

Jan Dominic Castro, Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council president and Central Board speaker, said the Central Board only wanted to ensure the credibility of the elections. 

“We believe that we really have the merits for that case. The great concern of the Central Board is baka nga makapag-proclaim sila (Central Comelec), saka darating ang complaints on the credibility of elections. Ang gusto lang rin namin is pagkatiwalaan ng students ang results na ilalabas ng Central Comelec,” Castro said in a phone interview.


Comelec ill-prepared?

Aside from the Central Board, University-wide political parties Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa) and Lakas Tomasino Coalition (LTC), independent candidates, and poll watchers urged the Central Comelec to explain the events prior to the postponement of the proclamation of the new CSC officers.

LTC Chairwoman Annika Alcala said the Central Comelec should have informed the poll watchers and campaign managers on the real situation behind the “technical difficulties.”

“There [were better ways] on how to have handled the situation: by letting the poll watchers stay, or informing campaign managers or representatives early on,” Alcala told the Varsitarian in an e-mail.

Alcala said the delay in the announcement of results was risky, and the two-day span was too long.

Lakasdiwa Chairwoman Bianca de Ramos said Comelec Chairwoman Alyssa Arreola and Vice Chairman Raymond John Naguit did not entertain her and other concerned parties when they asked about the situation at the Grandstand. De Ramos said the Central Comelec should have prepared for technical glitches by conducting a test run.

The Varsitarian tried but failed to get a statement from the Central Comelec.


‘No comprehensive canvassing’ 

Several poll watchers told the Varsitarian they were skeptical of the canvassing process and the delay of the proclamation of winners.

The canvassing started at 2 p.m. on April 22 at the Educational Technology Center office at the Buenaventura G. Paredes, O.P. Building. The Central Comelec confiscated all phones and other gadgets that could be used for communication. 

Poll watchers said election officials were downloading the votes through a laptop. They claimed there was no canvassing of votes since the tallying was not shown to them and only final results were being flashed on the screen. 

“Para ngang hindi canvassing at naka-flash lang ‘yung votes sa screen. Paano ngang ‘di magdududa ang mga estudyante?” poll watcher Lea Antazo said in an interview. 

Poll watcher Lans de Larra said said the Central Comelec should have shown how the votes were tallied.  

College of Fine Arts and Design poll watcher Justin Co bared that the Central Comelec laptop restarted around 3:15 p.m. while the downloading of votes was going on. 

“The laptop restarted so we had to do the whole downloading process again … Then, when the server was failing to download the ballots, they wanted to shift to a private room with a desktop [computer] so that they could ease the downloading process,” he said in an interview. 

A poll watcher from the College of Commerce and Business Administration also questioned the process, because the downloading was done without the presence of poll watchers.

“[It] caught our attention because they switched computers without the presence of the CSC poll watchers in that room where they will be communicating with the Australian and Singaporean servers,” said the poll watcher, who requested for anonymity.

Jude Buelva, poll watcher and campaign manager of independent candidate for CSC treasurer Glyden Aguliar, sought a comprehensive report on the whole electronic vote-counting process, especially during the time when the Central Comelec did not project on a big screen the downloading of the votes for the CSC elections.

“As a poll watcher, [I] saw the process on how the canvassing happened. I think we all deserve a comprehensive report, especially na dumating ang time na hindi na namin nakikita yung pag-fix nila ng problem unlike noong una, nasa harap namin, naka-project each step of the way,” Buelva said in a text message. 

According to the Central Comelec, the winners of the CSC elections will be announced tomorrow, April 25. Kathryn Jedi V. Baylon and Roy Abrahmn D.R. Narra


  1. Fyi Mr. Salvador, i saw your fb post and i’d like you to know that for the past two years hindi student number ang ginamit na password. Just so you know, there were instances na boboto pa lang ang estudyante eh nakalagay na agad na nakaboto na sila.

  2. Sana maging transparent kayo sa mga proceedings na nangyayare sa inyong dalawa kasi boto namin ang nakasalalay jan. Kaya Mr. James Ballecer and Ms. Cabingan, wala akong nakikitang mali kung bakit pinost ng CB sa FB ang petition nila.

  3. Sana maging transparent kayo sa mga proceedings na nangyayare sa inyong dalawa kasi boto namin ang nakasalalay jan. Kaya Mr. James Ballecer and Ms. Cabingan, wala akong nakikitang mali kung bakit pinost ng CB sa FB ang petition nila.


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