Did UST Colemec botch again CSC polls?

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THE Central Student Council (CSC) election saga has finally ended, but the  student government remains in limbo.

With only a few months left in the academic year, the council still finds itself incomplete, with only Therese Gorospe and Francis Santos being able to serve as secretary and public relations officer, respectively. Positions of the president, vice president, treasurer and auditor were left as blank slates.

It cannot be disregarded, however, that while Gorospe and Santos together with the entire council staff, have performed well, the council was and will remain incomplete with UST Commission on Elections (Comelec) declaring a failure of elections in the special polls last Feb. 3 to fill vacant posts in the executive board.

The supposed special balloting by members of the Central Board, composed of local student council presidents, failed to push through after a quorum of 12 was not met as only five presidents attended.

Asked by the Varsitarian why most of the CSC’s legislative body failed to show up, Reymark Simbulan, president of the Faculty of Arts and Letters (Artlets) Student Council, said Comelec might have failed to consider the schedules of the members of the Central Board, which, in this case might have been true.

For one, conducting special polls with almost three months remaining before the general elections was hardly feasible anymore. Not only was it a waste of time and effort, but with a short span of time, those who would be elected would only be able to accomplish little, not to mention that they would be uprooted from their respective local student councils, thus creating a trickle-down effect.

Comelec could have pushed through with the special elections last November but after series of class suspensions and election postponements, the plan failed to materialize.

However, they could have scheduled the elections earlier than November, when resignations were tendered by Steven Grecia and the rest of the candidates with the second highest of votes next to the abstentions.

Surely, an earlier date would have enabled the poll body to administer an election, which only required members of the Central Board, thus preventing the deadlock scenario where only two officers were able to serve in the council.

The local unit of Comelec in Artlets was able to conduct two special elections manually. Last semester, it sought to complete members of its council for the positions of the vice president internal and auditor, which was declared vacant twice after the candidate running for the position lost to “void” votes.

Members of the Central Board, too, could have explained their absence on the day of the special polls, even when it was announced a week before it was scheduled. But no statements were issued, a failure of elections was declared, and things went on as if nothing happened –making it seem as if the special elections stood only for the sake of formality.

But to give credit to where it is due, Thomasians found a more socially responsive executive board this year compared to last year, when it was present in prayer rallies such as those when hundreds of anti-death penalty bill advocates marched to UST, for victims of the Marawi siege, for hazing victim Horacio Castillo III, and when it denounced the alumni award for Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.

It should, however, be noted that the executive board is composed of six people, not only two. They have different roles and functions, and while one may argue that yes, two people were able to stand on its feet as a council, it is unfair to have only them performing the job of six. In a sense, the failure to complete the CSC’s executive board is a disservice to the Thomasian electorate which deserves a complete council.

While we respect that majority of Thomasians opted to “Abstain,” it simply cannot end there, for the council’s charter enshrines that positions have to be filled when they become vacant.

The unexpected turn of events in this election scenario, where one could have hoped for a better result, certainly brings a lot of lessons to those who hold power and responsibilities: that is, if we would want to allow this to happen again.

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