THE SOLE candidate of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UST (STAND-UST) has been disqualified to run for president in the upcoming Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) elections.
In a resolution released on March 31, the AB Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that STAND-UST’s standard bearer Rochel Ellen Bernido failed to submit one of the necessary documents for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) as provided by the local poll body.
“Ms. Bernido filed her certificate of candidacy before the Legal Division at 4:51 pm on March 27, 2017 under the banner of STAND-UST for the position of president. However, Ms. Bernido failed to submit a resignation letter to the Commission as the Thomasian Film Society’s (TFS) director for creative writing on March 29, 2017,” the resolution read.
“Ms. Bernido only provided a copy of her resignation letter as a member of STAND-UST’s Core Group at 4:58 pm during the submission of deficiencies,” it added.
AB Comelec said in its resolution that all deficiencies were submitted to its legal division on March 29. The poll body posted the official list of candidates on its social media accounts on the same day but TFS president Russel John Briones later on expressed his concern on Bernido’s resignation in the society.
“Ms. Bernido submitted her letter of resignation to Mr. Briones on Facebook at 11:58 pm on March 29, 2017,” the resolution read, noting that the deadline for the submission of deficiencies was at 5 pm of the same day.
Resignation letters are not included in the requirements for COC filing provided in the UST Students’ Election Code (USEC) of 2011. However, USEC states that the Comelec unit involved in a particular election can ask for additional requirements.
AB Comelec said in its resolution that it asked the ABSC hopefuls to provide resignation letters during COC filing.
“[T]he Commission provided guidelines for aspiring candidates of the Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) on their Facebook account last March 17, 2017, explicitly stating the need for a resignation letter from all incumbent officers,” the resolution read.
Bernido, however, said the local Comelec noted that she completed all the requirements during the day of the filing of deficiencies.
“Tinanggap ng Comelec lahat ng ipinasa namin, kasama na ang mga resignation letter ko para sa STAND-UST at TFS solely signed by me noong araw ng pasahan ng deficiencies. Kinumpirma at ni-note ng Comelec na nakumpleto namin lahat ng kailangang ipasa mula sa pinakaaraw na iyon hanggang sa gabing i-release ang official list of candidates,” Bernido said.
STAND-UST chairperson Elizabeth Anthony said Bernido submitted a resignation letter signed solely by her because Briones was then unavailable to sign it due to conflict of schedule; however, AB Comelec did not specify the format and content of the letter.
“Kasi raw sabi nila (Comelec), ang resignation letter [ay] dapat signed ni Briones,” Anthony said. “Ayun ‘yung kinukwestyon namin. Under USEC nga, hindi naman specified ‘yung form ng resignation [letter], [sino] ‘yung signatories ganun. I hope na bigyan nila ng deeper thought and analysis.”
STAND-UST’s sole bet said the incident is a “manifestation” of the kind of politics in the Faculty.
“Higit pa sa inilalaban namin hinggil sa teknikal na proseso at sa kawastuan ng aming dokumentong naipresenta, lagi nating tatandaan na may karapatan ang sinumang estudyante na lumalaban para sa kapakanan at karapatan ng kapwa estudyante na magsilbi sa konseho,” Bernido said.
STAND-UST has already filed a motion for reconsideration before the UST Central Comelec.
USEC states that “no officer of the Executive Board shall hold any position in other recognized student organizations in the University during his tenure.” F MIKKAH F. FACTOR