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UNIVERSITY OF SANTO TOMAS

ESPANA, MANILA

University of Santo Tomas


Central Student Council Central Board
Complainant,

- versus -

University of Santo Tomas


Central Commission on Elections
Respondent.

x----------------------------------------------------x

COMPLAINT

The UST Central Student Council Central Board, through the undersigned,
respectfully states:

1. The UST Central Student Council Central Board (CSCCB for brevity),
composed of the duly elected presidents of the different faculties, colleges,
institutes, and schools of the University of Santo Tomas, and is the legislative
arm of the Central Student Council, recognizes and fully understands the existing
rules and regulations concerning election and non-election matters.

2. As the heads of the student bodies of the respective faculties, colleges, institutes,
and schools in the University, the CSC-CB represents the 40,000 strong
Thomasians that they govern.

3. Students rights, tracing back to the post-Martial Law period, is one of the main
advocacies of the student councils. All university legislations concerning the
students are made in line with these student rights.

4. Last April 20, 2017, the Central board had a meeting to discuss concerns
regarding the students code, audit of different organizations, and the UST
Student Council elections. Attached is a copy of the minutes of the meeting.

5. While there is authority on the part of the Central Commission on Elections


(Central COMELEC for brevity) and its local COMELEC units to promulgate and
enact rules and regulations to conduct clean, fair, credible, democratic and
peaceful elections that will truly represent the will of the Thomasian studentry,
CSC-CB stands firmly that the Central COMELEC and its local units must
respect and uphold the constitutional rights of Thomasians, at all times, while in
their performance of their mandated powers and functions enumerated in the
Student Government Constitution of the University of Santo Tomas and the UST
Students Election Code of 2011 (USEC for brevity).

6. Last April 21, 2017, during the orientation for canvassing of the poll watchers
held at the UST Tan Yan Kee Audio Visual Room, the Central COMELEC
entertained the request of the CSC-CB to attend such orientation to clarify the
following questions and their answers to wit:

a. Can you orient us on the voting process?


It depends on the Local COMELEC, if you have questions, they
can clarify them for you.

b. How were the absentees treated in the context of voting beyond


their scheduled voting hours?

The ballots of the absentees will be torn in front of the class. If the
absentee were able to present us a letter stating why they were
absent, then we would let them vote.

c. Were the students informed of these procedures?

Yes

d. How were they informed?

There was an orientation before they voted and we scheduled


their voting so they were informed beforehand.

e. Did all COMELEC units have a copy of the list of voters?

Yes

f. According to the USEC, a ballot box should be used for the


Manual elections, were you able to inform the students that you
will be going to use an envelope instead?

Yes

g. Were the students informed of the start of canvassing?

Yes

h. Were the students informed of the schedule of the proclamation?

Yes

7. According to the minutes of the Central Board meeting, it was raised that the
Commission on Elections is using an envelope to safe keep the answered ballots
of the voters.

8. Annex B, C, and D presents the witness statements of the following students


proving that the Commision on Elections did use an envelope to safe keep their
answered ballots:

a. Renz Joshua Miguel Esguerra Faculty of Arts and Letters

b. Charrie Patricia Tadeo Faculty of Arts and Letters

c. Danielle Alecsandria S. Del Castillo Faculty of Arts and Letters

9. Likewise, the local COMELEC units utterly failed to inform the Thomasians
regarding the use of envelopes in the electoral process.

10. Article X, Sec. 6 of USEC of 2011 only provides that:

The Central COMELEC shall prescribe the ballot boxes where


the voters shall deposit their ballots.

And did not mention anything regarding the use of envelopes in the
electoral process.
11. According to the minutes of the Central Board meeting, it was raised that
students from different colleges had a hard time following the COMELECs
schedule of activities.

12. Annex E presents a letter to Ms. Patricia Rose Angelu S. Hidalgo, President of
the College of Science Student Council, stating that there were discrepancies in
the COMELECs statements regarding the schedule of activities.

13. Annex F presents a witness statement by Hannah Grace E. Gohing supporting


the concern raised in the Central Board meeting.

14. According to the minutes of the Central Board meeting, it was raised that absent
students are no longer allowed to vote beyond their proposed voting schedules.

15. Annex G presents the results of the survey to the question How were the
absentees treated in the context of voting beyond their scheduled voting hours?

16. According to Annex G

44.4% said Yes and 55.6% No in the question:

Were you informed of the start of canvassing?

30.9% said Yes and 69.1% No in the question:

Were you informed of the schedule of the proclamation?

17. According to the minutes of the Central Board meeting, it was raised that there
were no formal announcements made/posted by the COMELEC

18. According to Annex G 27.3% said Yes and 72.7% No in the question:

Did the COMELEC use/show an Executive Order to inform the students about
any changes in the voting process?

19. Annex H presents screenshots of the social media accounts of the Commission
on elections.

20. As stated in Article II, Section 2, b. of the USEC of 2011 on the powers and
functions of the Central Comelec:

Promulgate rules and regulations in the form of an Executive


Order implementing the provisions of this Code, as well as
such directives that are necessary for the ordinary administration
of the commission.

21. According to the minutes of the Central Board meeting, it was raised that the
COMELECs way of information dissemination is insufficient or unsatisfactory
considering that there were reports by the students saying that they had no idea
that the election was already ongoing.

22. According to Annex G 27.3% said Yes and 72.7% No in the question:

Did the COMELEC use/show an Executive Order to inform the students about
any changes in the voting process?

23. During the said meeting, Mr. Bersonda affirmed that the Central COMELEC was
able to inform the students regarding the electoral process.

24. According to Annex G

18.2% said Yes and 81.8% No in the question:


Did you see any announcement regarding the voting process in your buildings
bulletin board?

51.9% said Yes and 48.1% No in the question:

Did you see any announcement regarding the voting process through the
Tomasian Cable Televisions social media accounts?

43.6% said Yes and 56.4% No in the question:

Did you see any announcement regarding the voting process through the
Varsitarian?

25. Annex I presents screenshots of the social media accounts of the Tomasian
Cable Television proving the absence of any Executive Order, article, or post
regarding the process for voting.

26. Annex H presents screenshots of the social media accounts of the Commission
on elections proving the absence of any Executive Order, article, or post
regarding the process for voting.

27. Annex J, K. L. and M presents copies of the February 1, 2017, February 28,
2017, and March 29, 2017 of The Varsitarian and the April 7, 2017 Botomasino
issue proving the absence of any Executive Order or article regarding the
process for voting.

28. Also, Article II, Section 3 (on the function of the Public Information Officer) and
Section 4.3 (c) of the USEC:

Ensure the proper announcement of the activities of the


central COMELEC by means of bulletin boards, advertisements
through the Tomasian Cable Television (TOMCAT) and the
Varsitarian, teasers, and electronic billboard.

29. Whereas, Article III, Section 8 and 9 of the Student Government Constitution of
the University of Santo Tomas states that:

The right of the students to information on matters directly


affecting their welfare and interest shall be recognized.

Students shall have the right to adequate notice of all rules,


regulations, policies, and penalties to which they are subjects.

30. All previous entries presents the Local COMELECs inability to respect and
uphold the constitutional rights of the Thomasians as stated above.

31. According to the minutes of the Central Board meeting, it was raised that there
are students that are not included in the attendance sheet because the list of
voters was not updated. There were also reports that the irregular students had
the chance to vote more than once since the COMELEC only asked them to write
their name on a separate piece of paper as proof of voting.

32. Annex N presents a letter to Ms Patricia Rose Angelu S. Hidalgo, President of


the College of Science Student Council, by section 2 Psych 1 stating that there
are regular students who were not part of the master list of voters.

33. According to Annex G 84.3% said Yes and 15.7% No in the question:

Was there a master list (with your name on it) that you signed before you
voted?
34. The Central COMELEC stated during the discourse that the Local COMELEC
had a complete copy of the students of their respective faculties, colleges,
institutes, and schools.

35. As stated in Article X, Section 2 and 3 of the USEC:

Each local comelec shall prepare a voters list based on the


enrollment list of their faculties, colleges, institutes, and
schools for the semester during which an election is set to be
held.

All bona fide students of the University of Santo Tomas shall


be qualified to vote (1) in the CSC election, and (3) in their
respective local student council elections.

36. This raises doubt on the Central COMELECs statement on the completeness of
the voters list that was used during the elections.

37. During the said meeting, Mr. Bersonda affirmed that the Central COMELEC was
able to supervise the Local COMELECs operations in their respective faculties,
colleges, institutes, and schools.

38. Entries from numbers 29 and 36 clearly states that the Central COMELEC failed
to monitor their local COMELEC units.

39. As stated in Article II, Section 2, a. of the USEC of 2011 on the powers and
functions of the Central Comelec:

Exercise direct and immediate supervision and control over all


the Local COMELEC units in the university in the performance of
their duties.

40. The Central COMELEC grossly failed to fulfill these functions, which hindered the
student from exercising their right to suffrage. Article IV, Section 2 of the Student
Government Constitution of the University of Santo Tomas states that:

It shall be the duty of every student to vote and actively participate in


all student elections, referenda and plebiscites

41. Glaringly, with these complaints, the UST Central COMELEC and its local units
miserably failed to fulfill their mandate to conduct a free, orderly, honest,
peaceful, credible and democratic elections

42. Gross negligence of the Commission to observe and implement free, orderly,
honest, peaceful, credible and democratic elections due to the whims and
caprices of the Commission. Thus we convey that the Commission committed
massive disenfranchisement.

43. No less than the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the highest law of the land,
provides Suppression of the political rights of every student however with the
ineffectiveness and gross negligence the UST Central COMELEC and its units,
resulted to massive disruption to the entire voting process.

44. The Commission acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction. It is evident that the UST Central COMELEC is uneven
with its aim to deliver an orderly, credible and democratic elections. It is the
commissions responsibility to ensure all Thomasians that their suffrage would
not be jeopardized, however, the UST COMELECs unpreparedness only shows
that they are not ready to handle the manual elections.
PRAYER

The CSC Central Board, as the duly elected representatives of the students,
believes in the students right to suffrage. As student leaders, the students trust put us
into our positions through the electoral process. Firm in our belief that the students
votes are their voices, we deem that the election must be kept unstained and free from
any suspicion. Failure to protect the integrity of the process may result in the loss of the
publics trust towards the leaders of our university.

Wherefore, it is most respectfully prayed, after notice and hearing that all the
votes casted last April 18-21, 2017 be declared null and void. It is also prayed that the
Central Judiciary Board resolve the matter, relieve the officers from their duties, and
impose authoritative penalties as the board may deem just.

Manila City, Philippines, May 17, 2017.