Tensions ran high as Tapat, Santugon and independent candidates responded to relevant and current concerns in’Question Everything’, a Commission on Elections (COMELEC)-sponsored open forum for the upcoming freshmen elections held at Y508-509 this afternoon.
In the forum, each presidential candidate was given time to present his/her slate and what they stood for. After this, six minutes had been allotted for the audience to raise their questions and concerns to the candidates.
Kevin Caballes, COMELEC chairperson, hopes to orient freshmen students on each candidate’s platforms, emphasizing that they “should get to know their candidates more.” This, he says, is especially important, since they will be given the right to vote for their own batch’s representatives in the impending elections.
SPOA vs. GPOA
During the course of the open forum, candidates from political parties Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista and Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon elaborated on their respective stances when it came to acting on issues within the University.
Tapat candidates, for example, discussed the merits of following a general plan of action (GPOA) to address problems. 68th ENG presidential candidate Justine Basco argues that a GPOA is more flexible. Angel Kahayon, FOCUS2013 vice-presidential candidate, agrees with this, adding that a GPOA allows “[Tapat leaders] to target the root cause of the problem.”
In contrast, candidates from Santugon detailed the advantages of adopting a specific plan of action (SPOA). CATCH2T13 presidential candidate Justin Pua, for instance, asserts that a SPOA is specifically “aimed towards [the improvement of their] batch.” In view of this, FOCUS 2013 vice-presidential candidate Ashley Parto posits that a SPOA allows them to become more proactive and take a step ahead even before the problem arises.
Looking into partisanship
Another concern that had been raised more often than others in the forum was the issue of partisanship. Many fear that once candidates endorsed by Tapat or Santugon successfully get elected into office, they would employ partisanship and prefer party members over non-party members.
With the emergence of two independent candidates vying for positions in FAST2013, the problem has become more relevant than ever. Charles Claro, one of the independent candidates, shares this concern with the electorate, arguing that there are “certain political ties [that can] affect an elected candidate’s choices.” Independent candidate Lee Contreras even goes as far as contending that independent candidates like him are more effective in addressing the student body’s needs, since they do not have to return political favors at all.
FAST2013 candidates from Santugon and Tapat, however, were quick to defend their respective parties’ take on partisanship in the USG. For instance, Santugon candidate Law Manaloto insists that they practice mature partisanship, claiming that the decisions Santugon leaders make once elected are based not on political partisanship but on the needs of the entire student body. On the other hand, Josh Narciso, Tapat’s FAST2013 vice presidential candidate, defends partisanship, saying that to a certain extent, it makes the implementation of political platforms and programs easier.