A complaint about a case of suspected premature campaigning prior to the 2014 General Assembly Executive Board Elections was received by the COMELEC last July 14. The petition was filed by Grace Ramos, Khryzza Mae Pinzon, Carmelo Panlaque, Erika Dandoy, John Francis Nabua, Fatima Star Lamalan, and Prances Bea Ibarra of Piglasapat against Sushmita Castro, Karyn Asur, Mary Grace Chew, and Dominic Estremos of Bahaghari. The complaint, however, was dismissed.
Bahaghari President Ms. Krista Villa-Agustin was alleged to have started the early campaign. She was said to have sent a message to freshmen class presidents requesting them to meet her at the Admissions area before proceeding to J301 where the election was to be held.
During the meeting, the class presidents were shown a piece of paper with names that appeared to be arranged “in sequence as they were listed in the paper” with the respective positions they were running for, except for Mr. Jeremeh Penarejo, Bahaghari’s candidate for Internal Vice President.
“It was suggested, though, na hindi by-the-rules ang nangyari. Yun ang aming gustong ayusin; the reason why we sent a complaint. But one thing’s for sure, we won’t stop trying to make things better for everyone,” Panlaque said.
General Assembly Executive Board Elections Guidelines Article 3 states:
Section 1. The campaign period shall begin as soon as the candidates have been declared. Each candidate shall be given a maximum of 2 minutes to speak of his/her platform in front of the assembles class presidents.
Section 3. Campaign prior to the elections shall be strictly prohibited. Anyone who shall have knowledge of early campaigning is encouraged to file a complaint to COMELEC. Anyone violating this said policy shall be dealt with accordingly.
However, when the COMELEC convened to discuss the issue, they saw that the information given by the complainants does not prove any violation of the guidelines.
The resolution sent by the COMELEC states,
‘WHEREFORE, the text message received by Mr. Millares (a freshmen class president) shows that it is NOT a form of premature campaign but rather an invitation to just meet with Ms. Villa-Agustin. For one, the text message does not solicit votes from the class presidents involved and does not contain the names of the candidate. The source of the message is also not an aspirant to any position in the Organization. The small piece of paper in which the names of the candidates were written, does not prove nay solicitation of votes but is just a list of names written on it.’
After much deliberation, the COMELEC dismissed the complaint due to the insufficiency of evidence.
“Honestly, I’m disappointed not with the election results but with circumstances that somehow tainted the election process. This is not to nail anyone but this may be to awaken us for stricter rules and their proper implementation. Just hoping that same thing will not happen again.” Grace Ramos, one of the complainants, stated.
The COMELEC resolution was still passed and the officers elected will still assume their positions until the end of their terms.