SIX OUT of the seven candidates for the upcoming Central Student Council (CSC) polls have withdrawn from their races, citing a “system resistant to reform” that would hinder their ability to serve effectively.

Candidates Timothy John Santiago (president), Matthew Enriquez (vice president), Hannah Calara (secretary), Hanah de Leon (treasurer), Josh Viray (auditor), and Francine Tuazon (public relations officer) sent notice of their withdrawals to the UST Central Commission on Elections (Comelec) within a five-minute span via email on Wednesday afternoon.

In a joint statement released shortly after the Comelec announced their withdrawal, the candidates cited campus media censorship, red-tagging, suppression of democratic rights and student welfare, and the entrenched bureaucratic system as factors influencing their decision to withdraw.

“We find ourselves compelled to take a principled stand against participating in a system resistant to reform. In the face of these challenges, we have been forced to reassess the feasibility of our collective goals and the efficacy of our approach,” their statement read.

The candidates said the Office for Student Affairs’ (OSA) censorship of TomasinoWeb exposed the “Pandora’s box of the pervasive culture of suppression and repression of the University towards its students.”.

They also cited what they described as a “dysfunctional and oppressive system,” noting that student leaders were unable to implement projects, particularly dialogues concerning the CSC Constitutional Revision and the adoption of the Student Code.

CSC leaders have repeatedly attempted to change their charter, but without success. Incumbent council president Ierathel Tabuno had said the proposed changes would be a means of transitioning toward a policy-driven council and “beyond organizing events.”

“It is now evident that we are vying for positions where we are prevented from fulfilling our duty of representing our fellow students and providing the Thomasian community with the service that they deserve,” they said.

With the six backing out from the CSC elections, only auditor candidate Stephan Aseron will be left in the race.

The Comelec has yet to respond to the Varsitarian’s request for comment as of writing. 

The University-wide election period is set on April 22 to 27.


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