CSC logo (Photo grabbed from UST Central Student Council's Official Facebook Page)

THE OUTGOING Central Student Council (CSC) officers said the decision of all candidates for the upcoming Executive Board elections to withdraw was a valid but worrisome action, as it could leave the student body without any representation.

The upcoming CSC Executive Board elections have encountered a significant setback, with all candidates withdrawing as of Friday afternoon.

According to outgoing CSC President Ierathel Tabuno, although the council cannot compel students to run for CSC positions, there are still “other avenues” to serve the Thomasian community.

“We also have to recognize that we still have a fight going on. We still haven’t achieved what we need to achieve. We still haven’t experienced the change that we were supposed to experience [in] the very first place,” she told the Varsitarian.

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) withdrew from their respective races on Wednesday afternoon. 

Two days later, Stephan Aseron, another candidate for auditor, submitted his withdrawal to the Central Commission on Elections (Comelec), completing the withdrawal of all candidates.

Aiah Jacinto, the outgoing CSC vice president, described the candidates’ move as “worrisome” but “valid.”

“We can’t blame them because, as former candidates ourselves, it took so much for us to decide that we wanted to run. It took so much for us to accept the position,” she said.

Tabuno said the mass withdrawal was an act of courage.

“I understand where they might be coming from. It took a big leap of decision and much more for them to actually say na hindi nila kakayanin to be in that position,” Tabuno said. 

The Comelec has yet to release guidelines on the updated election procedure following the withdrawal of all CSC candidates.

What OSA thinks

Asst. Prof. Jaezamie Ong, the officer in charge of the Office for Student Affairs (OSA) and adviser of the CSC while the OSA director is on medical leave, said she would follow the guidelines set by the Central Comelec regarding the course of action to be taken following the withdrawal of the candidates.

“We will just have to follow the constitution of the Comelec and CSC. Wala naman akong magagawa doon kasi hawak ‘yun ng Comelec,” Ong told the Varsitarian. “It is not anymore up to me or anybody from us to check on this kasi Comelec talaga ‘yun.” 

The OSA played a significant role in the candidates’ decision to withdraw.

The former CSC candidates pointed to the office’s censorship of student media organization TomasinoWeb as the incident that opened the “Pandora’s box of the pervasive culture of suppression and repression of the University towards its students.”

“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,” the candidates said in a statement following their withdrawal.

Ong, who assumed the leadership of OSA on March 14, said student governance should not be limited to “just politics” but should instead prioritize service.

“It’s not just politics for me,” she said. “I don’t want to look at it as politics kasi for me, if you run for a position, you are not just running for a position—you are yearning to serve.” 

“The student council is a position to serve. Kung naramdaman nila, kung ano man ‘yon, hindi ko ‘yon pwede panghimasukan,” she added. Mabel Anne Cardinez and Hannah Joyce Andaya with reports from Logan Kal-El M. Zapanta and Mikhail S. Orozco 


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