ABSC officers, bets, face poll violations, misconduct allegations


External vice president candidate Matthew Enriquez and internal vice president candidate Josh Moncayo take turns in answering issues during the 2023 miting de avance on March 25. Enriquez and Moncayo are two of the DEKADA candidates with suspended certificates of candidacy due to alleged poll misconducts and violations. Photo by Grehmalyne Carandang/THE FLAME

INCUMBENT AND aspiring Artlets Student Council (ABSC) officials and a campaign manager are facing complaints of election offenses and campaign misconduct over some of their actions during the student council polls.

In a memorandum issued on Sunday, April 2, the Faculty of Arts and Letters Commission on Elections (AB Comelec) detailed the allegations of “campaign violations, election offenses, and other misconduct related to the election process,” against DEKADA candidates, DEKADA campaign manager Hanielle Garcia, secretary aspirant Gabriel Gabrillo and the incumbent ABSC officers.

Student political party DEKADA allegedly failed to comply with Section 7, No. 8 of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), which requires candidates to update the AB Comelec of their posted campaign materials by providing their internet address within an hour of posting. The party is also said to have posted materials outside of the timeframe allowed for posting. Section 7.2 No. 8 of the IRR states that the posting of campaign materials shall start at 8 a.m. and shall end at 8 p.m. 

The AB Board of Majors (BOM) also filed a complaint before the poll body last March 30 on the supposed misconduct of ABSC candidates and incumbent officers during the election period. 

DEKADA’s auditor candidate Joseph Coronel allegedly violated IRR No. 8, the rule on the duration of campaign and premature campaigning, by attempting to enlist the support of the Artlets Economic Society and by sending a private message to its president Hannah Erika Yabut on March 19. Coronel also allegedly sent an “official involvement notice” to all society emails before the miting de avance in an attempt to enlist the support of the BOM and the AB societies. His platform “Mulat Knows!” was viewed as a form of bribery as it included monetary incentives. 

DEKADA’s public relations officer candidate Rachelle Mirasol allegedly tried to solicit support from the BOM and AB Societies through official involvement notice via email.

Independent candidate for secretary Gabriel Gabrillo has also been accused of violating IRR No. 8 by seeking dialogue with the BOM through a direct message received by the board’s speaker Johannes Adrian de Guia. 

The BOM and AB Comelec had witnessed the “persistent coaching and cheating” of DEKADA candidates during the ‘For or Against segment’ of the miting de avance despite three warnings. A complaint has also been made against DEKADA campaign manager Hanielle Garcia, for allegedly providing technical cues, such as “cueing voice modulation and gesturing,” a possible violation of IRR No. 9, Section 4.9. The rule states that “campaign managers, representatives, or supporters are only allowed to assist their candidate during the preparation and setup of their presentation, such as providing technical support and arranging the candidate’s materials. However, they must refrain from giving cues, feedback, or prompts whenever the candidate speaks.”

AB BOM also claimed that Garcia was seen “meeting and/or hurdling with the DEKADA” during breaks. According to the poll body, the action is covered by IRR No. 9, section 4.9, which states that “campaign managers, representatives, or supporters are only allowed to assist the candidates during the preparation and setup of the presentation,” and section 4.11, which covers  “any other acts similar to the foregoing.”

It was likewise pointed out that the “unruly decorum” of the incumbent ABSC officers had caused distractions in the miting de avance, and that their failure to separate themselves from the ABSC has made their participation in the campaign improper. The alleged disruptive behavior of some ABSC officials was deemed as a violation of IRR No. 8, section 10, which forbids the causing of any commotion or “undue distractions” during the campaign period. 

On April 1, the AB Comelec scheduled a hearing with the subjects of the complaint and released Resolution no. 12, which suspended the certificates of candidacy of  Gabriel Gabrillo, Timothy Santiago, John Moncayo, John Enriquez, Hannah Calara, Joseph Coronel and Rachelle Mirasol. 

Due to the lack of precedence, the AB poll body had to consult with the UST Central Commission on Elections and other local Comelec units when it considered the suspension.

The AB Comelec said the suspension was only imposed to give way to the hearings on the alleged violations. 

“In light of the confusion in the student body, the Commission would like to clarify that no penalty has been handed out from the pending cases,” the poll body said in the resolution. F

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to attribute the allegations to the BOM that were initially ascribed to the AB Comelec. 

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