January 29, 2020 (5:28 PM)

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BLUE AND YELLOW. Political parties were in full force during the miting de avance in supporting their respective candidates in their bid for positions in the SAMAHAN.

Almost completing this year’s roster of candidates for the annual Samahan Central Board (SCB) elections, Pinag-isang Lakas ng Samahan ng mga Progresibong Atenista (Piglas) is once again on its way in acquiring reign on the highest student body organization in Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU).

Piglas, the longest-running socio-political party in the institution since 1986, presented eight candidates for the election composed of five school representatives and three major officers.

On the contrary, Bahaghari only came out with one candidate for the School of Engineering and Architecture representative and independent candidates rose for Education and Humanities and Letters representatives.

The university’s Commission on Elections stressed that candidates facing no opponents would need to garner quorum or 50 percent plus one votes of the total voting population to be elected into office but “securing quorum does not automatically mean that the candidate would gain position.”

“If quorum has been secured and majority decided to practice abstaining, then the decision of the majority will be respected and such candidate will not get the position,” as stated in their official statement released via their social media account.

If such quota cannot be reached, a re-election will occur.

Student apathy

According to Piglas presidential hopeful Renz Lacorte, the current political atmosphere can be seen in two ways: the preeminent party remained due to their efficiency or student apathy still persists in the school community.

“I think this political scenario challenges us to get more students involved in the political processes. I also see this scenario in two explanations. Either the dominating party stayed in the office, and now unopposed because they are too efficient in their works or in the other side, student apathy continues to rise in the community,” Lacorte said.

The AB Political Science major also mentioned that the alleged monopoly of power that the organization is said to have maintained throughout the years is false.

“I think on the part of the party, we participate and we step up to offer student leaders to serve and it is up to the student body whether they will vote for Piglas or not. On appointments, all of the OSG Directors are non-partisan,” he expressed.

 “And we should be oriented as well about the value behind appointment. This power is granted to the president in order for him to choose the right people, he/she is comfortable to work with, to ensure efficiency in the office,” Lacorte emphasized.

Piglas candidate for Secretary General Samantha Cayona used to be Lacorte’s Junior Secretary General last year.

Bahaghari, the recent socio-political party of the school, were expected to give contenders in this election as they previously did in the 2019 SCB elections.

However, Vince Dy, President of Bahaghari revealed that though they wanted to give justice to this year’s election, they simply did not want to run for office just because the other party is contending as well.

“As much as we want to give the justice of having a choice in this year’s election, Bahaghari fields candidates based on their competence and willingness to serve regardless if there is a rival or not. We don’t believe that just because the other party is running for a position, then, we are obliged to compete. That is not our goal why we run. Running for a position is a personal choice and is a choice that is well discerned in all aspects,” Dy said.

The nursing student also mentioned that there are some instances where the willingness and competence of the members are there but chances are not given with regards to the filing of candidacies.

“There are just some instances where competence and willingness from us is there but we are not given the chance to serve. The positions are usually filled up by appointees by other parties,” she said.

Dy also mentioned their eagerness as a club to promote a fair system of applications to break boundaries among political parties.

“That’s why we, as Bahaghari, also want to promote a fair system of having applications over positions to provide equal opportunities for student leaders and break barriers among political parties. Also, genuine service is not defined by mere experience or pol[itical] party, but the competence and willingness of the person serving,” Dy expressed.

Party switching

While this year’s elections emphasize the dominance of Piglas in the candidacy, the spotlight has also been put towards two candidates who shifted from one political party unto another.

Hopeful SOE cluster representative Ailene Renee Tagorda, who was once from Bahaghari, ran as Independent this 2020 elections due to her desire of “focusing solely on her cluster.”

“Di naman sa bringing lots of workload, I believe that each political party stands and stays true to its principles and as much as possible, they don’t force or strain their members in such. It was just that in my case it was a personal decision to run as indep[endent] in order to serve the best interest of the people from my cluster,” she asserted.

Tagorda also noted on why she left Bahaghari for being an independent candidate, emphasizing that she wants people to see her as “someone who is sincere in leading and serving them by example.”

Asked on the difference between being part of a party and not, in terms of sincerity, the sophomore described that the reasons why one runs for a position speak for his/her sincerity.

“For me, there is this fine line where you see ano talaga ang pinanghuhugutan ng isang candidate in his/her reason in running. And it is with these reasons why you run in the first place that gives an impact from someone running from a pol[itical] par[ty] and someone coming from an independent party,” Tagorda stated.

While Tagorda moved from an established party to being independent, aspiring SEA representative Josh Daquipil, known for being part of Piglasapat last year, shifted now towards Bahaghari as its sole candidate in the coming elections.

However, Daquipil denied that he was an official member of the former and told Atenews that he was associated with the said political party because of his relation with the current Samahan Secretary-General, who is running now for the presidency.

“The main reason why people may think I used to be with Piglas [is] because Renz Lacorte and I were good friends back in Senior High, and after hearing he was running for Samahan Secretary-General last year, I wanted to support him the best way I can. However, I was never an official member of Piglasapat.”

“There was a time when I was supposed to be a barker for Renz, but it never pushed through due to my busy schedule that time,” Daquipil added.

Moreover, the second year Architecture student clarified that he never ran for a position in Piglasapat since his decision to run as EA rep began in Bahaghari. For him, “they were the ones who helped him throughout his journey as an EASEC officer/Doric Architecture President.”

‘Political strategies’  

During the election campaigns, political strategies of political parties were publicized from private group chats which involved people from a certain party dragging supporters of opposing candidates.

To this, former Political Science and History Department Chair Ramon Beleno III expressed his sadness in campus politics imitating the politics outside the campus “instead of building [its] own niche of leadership.”

“The reason why we have mga programs like campus politics is so that we can actually train our students to become better leaders so parang training ground din sa pagiging leader. Unfortunately lang, ang nangyayari ngayon is their willingness to win is more than their willingness to serve. Parang mas gusto nilang manalo,” he said.

He also pointed out the lack of creative means of candidates “to actually send their message of service” to the students.

“Instead na their motivation is to actually serve the studentry regardless lang man kung manalo or matalo, nawawala na yun kasi sa kanila, importante manalo,” he said.

He also clarified that when the student body prefers to abstain, it manifests the “lack of choice among the candidates.”

“Abstain is actually a statement na pwede nating sabihin na for a particular voter, wala talagang qualified na candidate para sa kanila or walang worth it para sa kanilang boto,” he said.



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