SPECIAL ELECTIONS will be held next academic year after abstain votes outnumbered the votes garnered by the candidates for the Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) vice president-internal, secretary, and auditor.
A total of 678 Artlets abstained for the position of vice president-internal, defeating independent candidate Daniela Angela Frigillana (604 votes), Grand Alliance for Progress’ (GAP) Daverick Angelito Pacumio (585 votes), and Dekada’s Lawrence Adrian Gutierrez (371 votes).
For the position of secretary, 766 abstainers dominated the voters for the other bets. Maria Ann San Andres (independent) obtained 688 votes, John Pauleen Balbadores (Dekada) earned 413 votes, while Janina Louise Catap (GAP) got 375 votes.
Jan Rafael Lipat (independent), who ran for the position of auditor, garnered 614 votes but fell short to the 671 abstain votes. Fellow hopefuls for the position Reziah Angelica Famorcan (GAP) and Rodrich Rey Rebollos (Dekada) got 522 and 441 votes, respectively.
The other four positions were won by GAP and independent candidates.
Former The Political Science Forum (TPSF) vice president and GAP standard bearer Reymark Simbulan was proclaimed the new ABSC president with 1,148 votes.
A total of 585 abstain votes outnumbered Dekada’s Brian Earl Leshen who got 511 votes.
Samantha Makayan withdrew her candidacy for president on April 7. Makayan told the Flame that the reason for her withdrawal is “personal and a long story.”
The AB Commission on Elections (Comelec) has yet to release a resolution on Makayan’s withdrawal as of press time.
As Simbulan will lead a diverse executive board, the newly-elected president vowed that “we’re not going to [be] bound [by] our political parties. As we get into the position, we lower our colors.”
“Ang plan ko siguro is to have a meeting next week with the Executive Board para maayos namin kung sino mag-i-interim doon sa hindi available na positions,” he added.
Meanwhile, independent candidate Jancisko Valera is the new ABSC vice president for external affairs after earning 818 votes. Former ABSC public relations officer (PRO) Jan Krianne Pineda of Dekada got 604 votes, while Michael Olivier Simpao obtained 373 votes.
Proclaimed as the new ABSC treasurer is independent candidate Rafael Enrico Arellano with 866 votes. A total of 400 and 282 Artlets voted for GAP’s Nazarene Centina Cammayo and Dekada’s Peniel Grace Esguerra, respectively.
With 760 votes, Wrexler Reiven Bayani of GAP was elected as the new ABSC PRO. Fellow aspirants for the position Ia Marie Valdezotto (independent) and Airei Kim Guanga (Dekada) earned 476 and 406 votes, respectively.
No one from Dekada—which posted a 7-0 win last year—secured a position in the council.
AB Comelec chairperson Maria Margarita Villarica told the Flame that the special elections will happen on the first semester of the next academic year, around the second week of August. As of press time, the AB Comelec has yet to release a resolution regarding the special polls.
Article 11 Section 8 of the ABSC Constitution states that “all permanent vacancies in the Executive Board shall be filled by special elections.”
A total of 2,263 out of 3,911 Artlets or 57.86 percent voted this year, almost a 30 percent decrease from last year’s voter turnout of 86.84 percent with 3,588 out of 4,869 Artlets voting in the elections.
“With regards the voter turnout, 58 percent is not ideal, but we did our best to make sure that each and every Artlet could exercise their right to vote,” Villarica said, noting that the AB Comelec allowed voting in their office for walk-ins and students whose classes were suspended due to the ongoing thesis defense in the Faculty.
“I would like to think that this campaign and election season was still a success despite the circumstances. We couldn’t adjust the dates of the elections like some of the colleges because our Faculty itself has a very busy and hectic schedule,” she added.
Majority of the Thomasians also opted to abstain for the positions of president, vice president, treasurer, and auditor in the Central Student Council.
In the academic year 2015-2016, Artlets abstained for the positions of auditor and PRO. F KRYSTAL GAYLE R. DIGAY