Comelec suspends LTC for one academic year

File photo by Ma. Alyssa Adrienne T. Samonte

THE UST Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended University-wide political party Lakas Tomasino Coalition for violating online campaigning rules during the Central Student Council (CSC) elections last April.

In a resolution released on May 24, the Comelec stated that Lakas Tomasino violated Judicial Resolution No. 03, which prohibited the party from conducting an online campaign from April 5 until April 20, the end of the campaign period.

Rival political party Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino (Lakasdiwa) had accused Lakas Tomasino of illegally campaigning online for its candidates Gabriela Sepulchre (vice president), Alexandra Guevarra (secretary), Daveson Nieto (treasurer), Richard Javier (auditor) and Lance Santiago (public relations officer).

Five out of nine cases filed by Lakasdiwa were acknowledged by Comelec.

Cases four and five involved Lakas Tomasino’s local affiliates who “quote-tweeted” online materials on Twitter, while cases six and seven involved third parties who shared the online paraphernalia of Nieto on Facebook. Case eight involved Sepulchre, who retweeted supportive statements from various students.

Case nine involved Sepulchre, Guevarra, Nieto, Javier and Santiago who used campaign paraphernalia as their display pictures on their official Facebook accounts. This case was dismissed by the Comelec as it was “far reaching to conclude that the assailed photos are campaign materials.”

The University Students’ Election Code of 2011 defines an election campaign as an act designed to promote a candidate, which may include publishing and distributing campaign materials .


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