Catch this article also in our Boto Bedista 2023 3.0 Special Issue
IN THE FACE of unprecedented challenges, Julia San Jose, the Student Council (SC) Vice President for Internal Affairs, has assumed the role of acting SC President with unwavering resilience. And as the Bedan community anticipates another special elections, The Bedan has turned to San Jose for her insights during this period.
In an exclusive interview, San Jose shared her reflections on the past SC elections while also expressing her expectations for the upcoming one.
She did not shy away from addressing the elephant in the room—the fallout from the previous SC elections wherein a significant number of Bedan students abstained from voting for the SC President position not once, but twice.
The Vice President for Internal Affairs believes that several factors contributed to this abstention, ultimately reflecting broader sentiments within the student body.
One fundamental factor, she suggests, was the “newfound realization” among students of their power to abstain from voting.
“The power of abstain in itself contributed a big factor… and it also shows that regardless of the political party of the candidates, at the end of the day, it is the students who will decide kung sino yung gusto nilang malagay sa Council,” San Jose explains.
Another contributing factor, she points out, is the high expectations students have for their ideal candidate.
“The student body might not have found the perfect candidate or the candidate that could meet their standards,” she elaborates.
One prominent question that has emerged in the wake of the elections is whether the absence of an elected SC President leaves a significant gap in the Student Council’s leadership.
San Jose offers a nuanced perspective, acknowledging the existence of challenges in the bureaucratic process due to the absence of a President.
Transitioning into the role of SC President under these unique circumstances has not been without its hurdles yet still, she believes that the SC, with its current members, has effectively managed its duties and responsibilities.
She explains, “In terms of student services and effective student activities, having no President, or a quote-unquote ‘headless’ SC, is not hindering us at all.”
The acting SC President also candidly discusses the challenges she has faced during this transitional period, one of which was navigating the bureaucratic processes, as complications transpired about who would make decisions and take action in the absence of a President.
San Jose notes the personal struggle of fulfilling two positions simultaneously—the Vice President for Internal Affairs and the acting President, which required her to balance the needs of student organizations while overseeing the entire SC’s operations.
Despite the challenges, she takes pride in the progress made saying, “We’re more open to objective criticisms. We’re more transparent. Hindi perpekto ‘yung Council, there will always be lapses, there will always be shortcomings, but what’s different this time is that we listen and we’re open to improve.”
This commitment has led to a more student-centered approach in decision-making and a stronger sense of community within the council.
“At the end of the day, it’s fulfilling kasi nakikita ko namang mas maayos ‘yung Council this time and the student’s welfare mas-napapakinggan, San Jose added.
As the Bedan community gears up for the elections, San Jose encourages students to vote with a purpose.
“To the 1st year students, may you vote for the candidate that you think will represent you best. For the whole student body or for the whole Bedan Community… may we vote kasi we deem the candidate fit for the position,” she remarked.
When asked about her thoughts on the withdrawal of Kyrelle Tolete’s candidacy and how she anticipates the upcoming election unfolding, San Jose expressed that “regardless of what will happen in the upcoming elections, the SC will welcome the new President hopefully, kung magkakaroon, and the First Year Batch Representative, with open arms.”
To the candidates running for these positions, San Jose extends her best wishes. “I wish them all the best, and I can’t wait to work with them in serving the student body,” she shares warmly.
As San Jose’s insights provide a glimpse into the dedication and commitment driving the Student Council during these extraordinary times, it’s also time for the Bedan community to come together, make informed choices, and shape the future of the university’s student leadership.
(with Rizian Veniz Balleta)