Catch this article also in our Boto Bedista 2023 3.0 Special Issue
IN A HISTORIC turn of events, the election for the Student Council (SC) presidency is about to unfold for the third time in a single year. This time around, the two-time winner, “Abstain,” goes head-to-head against lone presidential candidate, Eunice Althea Bermudez of the San Bigkis Party (SBP). Will “abstain” get a rare three-peat victory, or will the student voters of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) finally elect their next chief executive?
Looking back at the May 12 CAS General Elections, standard-bearers Kurt Francis Casano and Arlene Grace Sol vied for the highest position in the Council, carrying the Nationalist Youth and Progressive Democrats’ (NYPD) and SBP’s banners of leadership.
However, in a dramatic development, the CAS chose to abstain for the selection of the presidency, leaving a seat vacant in the Council. To fill this void, the San Beda – Electoral Board (ELBO) called for a special election to elect the next president.
Stepping into the shoes of Sol, Jewel Elefane succeeded her as the standard-bearer of SBP against Carlos Miguel Marcelo, an independent candidate, in the First Special Election for SC President. However, for the second time around, “abstain” caused an upset win to shock the CAS after emerging as the ultimate victor.
With momentum, “abstain” will stake its two-to-nothing record for a chance to get a three-peat win in the upcoming Second Special Presidential Elections this September 9, as another challenger still from the SBP steps-up for the CAS in the person of Bermudez, following the withdrawal of her sole challenger, Kyrelle Diane Tolete, who ran as an independent candidate.
That said, what makes “abstain’s” standard of leadership ahead of San Beda’s leading political parties’ standard bearers?
The Bedan asked the CAS studentry about what they feel. Victor Victoria, a third-year literature student shared that he “[thinks] it has equal [part] to do with the perception of the candidates by [the] student body in addition to the candidates themselves.”
“But I think the previous candidates failed to present an aspect of leadership that isn’t really talked about and that’s humanity. It’s an image thing really. Especially with the first set of candidates,” he added.
He also noted that the candidates seemed to be so “eager to present themselves as politicians” that they “lost their sense of humanity, relatability, and approachability.”
For his part, second-year economics student, Dwayne Encinares, mentioned that, “If there is something that really made the previous elections controversial and special, it is because of the Heated Moments from the first two candidates from SBP and NYPD.”
Agreeing with Encinares, Jan Hendrix Fariñas, second-year Legal Management student, shared that “[the candidates] fell short on professionalism. Instead of bringing up each other’s personal issues, they should have focused on the matters that should be addressed in relation to the lapses of the past administration and on how they will fix it or make it more efficient.”
In the CAS’ third attempt to elect its president, Victoria claims that he thinks “the previous SC rosters were able to execute projects and programs that catered to and benefited the student body, the concert immediately coming to mind, but they weren’t all projects and programs that the student body necessarily asked for.”
As a challenge for the remaining presidential candidate, Encinares shared that though he knows “that her visions are outstanding and her platforms are superb, I believe that Eunice Bermudez should reach out to Bedans more, be more approachable, and let them know that she is a capable student leader that can hear the Bedan Community’s concerns, and that she will not disappoint.”
For Fariñas, “the presidential candidate should focus on the projects that will make the Bedan students’ college life more convenient, help them voice out their concerns and focus on their well being.”
With the student body’s thoughts about the recent two elections and its controversies, one question remains unanswered: Will “abstain” continue blocking the way towards the a complete Council as every Bedan cast their votes or will the student body finally forget move on and elect a new SC President?