By ALI IAN MARCELINO V. BIONG
THE FACULTY of Arts and Letters (AB) Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Aug. 29 ordered that special elections will be held to fill the vacant positions of vice president for internal affairs, secretary, and auditor of the Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC).
In a resolution, the AB Comelec, in accordance with a previous decision from the UST Central Comelec, deemed the positions won by “abstain” as permanently vacant.
“[I]t is resolved by the Commission to fill the vacancies for the positions of Vice President-Internal, Secretary, and Auditor through special elections,” the resolution read.
“As the sole regulatory body in AB with regards to student elections, it is our duty to promote fair, honest, and clean campaign and elections. Of course, our best interest lies in upholding the true will of the electorate,” AB Comelec Chairperson Ayla-Rhey Salapare told the Flame in an online exchange.
The filing of certificate of candidacy will be on Sept. 7 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Room 4E of the Tan Yan Kee Student Center. The deadline of submission of deficiencies and the announcement of the official list of candidates is Sept. 9.
ABSC President Reymark Simbulan said he is looking forward to the special elections, adding that the ABSC is planning to request permission from the AB Comelec to allow them to ask questions to candidates in the Miting de Avance on Sept. 13.
“Political color aside, the ABSC EB (Editorial Board) just wants to properly screen and see its possible new members,” Simbulan said.
The Central Comelec, following the Central Judiciary Board’s (CJB) order, proclaimed on Aug. 25 the Central Student Council (CSC) candidates with the highest number of votes next to “abstain” as winners of the recent student polls.
However, the CJB order did not mention that the proclamation of candidates with the highest number of votes will affect the Central Comelec’s local units.
“[I]t is implied that the Commission is excluded in the ruling of the case, thus, maintaining its autonomy from the decision,” AB Comelec’s resolution read.
ABSC vice president for internal affairs bet Daniela Frigillana, who received 604 votes against 678 abstentions, submitted a letter of complaint dated April 27 to then AB Comelec Chairperson Maria Margarita Villarica, questioning the use of “abstain” on the ballots for the recent elections.
Then AB Comelec Legal Head Samantha Mendoza replied on May 23 that the abstentions are “construed as a rejection” by the student body. F