Public relations candidates Carl Jeric Mataga (left) and Jerome Espinas (right)

A copy of a temporary transcript of records with the general weighted average certified by the Office of the Registrar is among the documents Central Student Council (CSC) candidates are required to submit, under the UST Students’ Election Code of 2011.

A FEW HOURS before the proclamation of new CSC officers, two of the six candidates remained at risk of being disqualified due to their inability to obtain their temporary transcript of records from the Registrar.

As of Saturday morning, public relations candidates Carl Jeric Mataga (Institute of Information and Computing Sciences) and Jerome Espinas had yet to receive their transcripts.

Mataga, an incumbent officer in the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences Student Council, had yet to receive his transcript because his student records were “on hold.”

The Varsitarian has learned that to have their records released by the Registrar’s office, incumbent LSC candidates must obtain clearances from various offices, including their respective dean’s offices, the Student Welfare and Development Board, the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) and Office of the Vice Rector for Finance.

Espinas, who resides in Bicol, told the Varsitarian that he was able to request the hard copy of his transcript but he had yet to receive it.

Certificates of candidacy and good moral character are the two other documents candidates are required to submit to the UST Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) by May 15.

Should a candidate with incomplete requirements win the elections, his or her position would be forfeited and deemed vacant, according to a resolution released by the Comelec on Friday night detailing the rules for the conduct of canvassing of votes.

Meanwhile, candidates Krizia Bricio (president), Arnet Paguirigan (secretary) and Gabriele de Lara (PRO), who are not holding any local office, have completed their requirements.

Vice-presidential candidate Gerald Matthew de la Cruz, outgoing internal vice president of the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council, secured his transcript just this week. 

The Varsitarian has reached out to the OSA to clarify why incumbent officers had to undergo a strenuous process for their student records but has yet to receive a response. The Varsitarian received an explanation from the Office of the Registrar, but it asked that it not be published as it was an unofficial statement on the matter.

‘Overwhelmingly slow’ response and lack of communication

On May 14, Mataga took his frustrations online and posted an open letter regarding the “overwhelmingly slow” response of the Comelec to his problem and the lack of response from the Registrar’s office.

“I gave the Comelec and the UST Registrar ample time to respond to my messages, but all I received was complete silence. The events that transpired have left me frustrated and feeling disenfranchised in a supposedly fair and well-regulated election,” Mataga said in his post.

Mataga said he first attempted to request for his transcript online on April 17 but to no avail, prompting him to reach out to the Registrar’s office. He received a reply hours later saying that “students records online application is now open,” but he was still unable to process his request.

He made follow-up inquiries on May 7, 8, 10 and 11 via email and on May 12 by phone, but still was unable to receive a response from the office. 

Mataga said he feared that the lack of response from the Office of the Registrar might be a move to “stonewall” him after he was asked by the OSA to change his protest rally background during the Tagisan 2021 debate, held last April 30.

He added: “I honestly and truly hope that this is not the case. I hope that the website rejecting my [transcript of records] request was only caused by a bug. But how does that explain the lack of replies to my email?”

Mataga told the Varsitarian on Friday afternoon that he had sought the help of their administrators and “none of them mentioned any holding of records.”

On Saturday afternoon, he told the Varsitarian: “Napag-usapan na namin kung papano kami magkaka-clearance and I’m on my way to getting my transcript of records eventually.”

But he said his student records remained on hold. “Marami pang steps to. Matagal-tagal pa pagdadaraanan ko.”

The Comelec acknowledged Mataga’s concern twice, on April 28 and May 7, but has asserted that it would not extend the deadline of the submission of requirements.

Espinas also raised his concern to the Comelec about difficulties in acquiring his student records, but the Comelec only told him “it’s noted.” 

“We have [pleaded] for the Comelec’s consideration to honor the PDF copy of grades from the myUSTe portal in case the hard copy of my transcript of records would not make it in time given logistical concerns, but they only said na it’s noted and they will update us na lang, and we update them about the status,” Espinas told the Varsitarian.

“After all, the grades reflected in our portal are also managed by the Registrar’s office and thus, the copy of grades issued in the portal are also generated by the Registrar’s office, too,” he added.

Espinas said he felt “bad” about the possibility of being disqualified because the problem was “beyond his and other candidates’ control.”

“Like what we have talked about yesterday among my fellow candidates, we have exhausted all possible means to procure and expedite the process of processing our documents,” he said.

Espinas said the Comelec must take responsibility for not addressing his and the other candidates’ concerns

“Besides, it’s them who also told us during the filing and the briefing that they would be considerate as long as we show [proof] of the status of our requests. Thus, I am looking forward [to] their consideration in this matter, and also to acknowledge and take responsibility for their lapses, too,” Espinas said.

The program for Proklamasyon 2021 will start at 3:20 p.m.


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