ENDING WEEKS OF uncertainty following the two subsequent absentions of Bedans in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the #BotoBedista2023 General Elections and Special Election for President, the Student Assembly (SA) voted last June 26 to hold another special election in conjunction with the First Year Batch Representative Election for academic year (A.Y.) 2023-2024.
Led by the outgoing Student Council (SC) President, Ron Ashley Trias, the assembly, composed of block presidents all over the College, convened for the first time last June 26 to discuss the prolonged vacancy in the SC presidency.
The block representatives raised five options of choosing the next SC president: (1) another Special Election, (2) a Special Election for 1st Year Batch Rep & President, (3) Election within the SA, from the SA, (4) Election within the SA, from the SA but Electoral College, and (5) Election from the SA but nomination allowed to all bona fide incoming 4th year student of CAS.
Following a spirited discussion, the assembly voted to hold another special election for the SC presidency together with the upcoming First Year Batch Representative election next A.Y.
The following is a breakdown of the votes for each available option, based on a tally released by the San Beda – Electoral Board (ELBO), Special Election – 19.44% (14), Special Election (1st Year Batch Rep & President) – 41.70% (30), Election within the SA, from the SA – 6.94% (5), Election within the SA, from the SA but Electoral College – 1.40% (1), and Election from the SA but nomination allowed to all bona fide incoming 4th year student of CAS – 20.83% (15).
This decision was sealed through a resolution published by the ELBO on June 29, which was also signed by Trias.
It was following the May 12 Student Council General Elections that the CAS studentry, exercising their right of suffrage, entrusted to capable student-leaders the capacity to represent them as members of the student government.
The highest position in the council, the presidency remains vacant, leaving the elected officers and the student body without a presider, without an ex-officio member of the Dean’s Council and Board of Discipline, and most importantly, a direct supervisor for the council.
The vacuum in leadership is a direct result of the 45% abstention vote on the presidential position, signaling the distrust of the CAS students toward the standard bearers vying for the position.
In hopes of electing a chief executive, the San Beda Electoral Board (ELBO) called for a special election.
Issuing Resolution No. 16-2223, ELBO declared a special presidential election after ten days following the student council election under the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code under Art. 1, Section 5.
However, despite the special elections, the CAS studentry did not feel right, as abstain once more held the majority of the votes with 46% of the total votes.
Accordingly, Prof. Marvin Reyes, Ph.D., Prefect of Student Activities for the CAS, in a joint statement with ELBO Commissioner, Ayrah Celline Asis, called for the outgoing student council president to convene a student assembly for the expeditious resolution of the need to elect the next SC President.
According to Article VIII, Section 01, the student assembly shall consist of Presidents of all homeroom organizations.
Citing Article VIII, Section 03, paragraph a, of the Student Council Constitution, the Student Assembly shall serve as an avenue for conferring issues affecting the whole CAS Students.
With that said, Section 3, paragraph e thereof, requires the student assembly to decide on concerns through a majority vote of 50% + 1 of all student council members.
Furthermore, the SC Constitution mandates that the SC President chair the student assembly without any voting power, as written under Article V, Section 1, paragraph H.
To date, the next set of SC Officers remains without their president despite having the turnover ceremony last June 15, pending the student assembly convention, signifying the outgoing officers’ failure to resolve the matter.
Under SC Constitution, the Internal Vice President is the next highest officer to the president and is mandated under Article V, Section 2, paragraph b of the SC Constitution to perform the presidential duties in the absence of the latter.
Accordingly, Julia San Jose, the incumbent SC Internal Vice President is expected to temporarily perform the functions of the council president and convene the student assembly and elect the next standard bearer.
The historic double abstain win signifies a cry from the studentry for better leadership, as the president is the official representative of the CAS students, expected to advance their welfare.
(With Ryan Julianne Monzon)
Photo by Carl Angelo Casilag