Democracy, representation, accountability—these are some of the core principles that the University Student Government (USG) was founded on.

However, before they start campaigning for students to give them their vote, the candidates go through a completely different selection process—one within their own political party.

Making sure the respective candidates are aligned with their vision and mission, Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) and Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) evaluate from within their own ranks to find students who are worthy of being presented as the voice of the student body for the following academic year.

Setting the bar

The University’s two political parties, despite their differences, deliberate on their candidates in a similar manner. For Santugon, they heavily emphasize the importance of the candidate’s platform as former Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) Santugon College General (SCG) Mavi Gacosta shares, “We base it off their platform over their personality.”

From the other side of the ballot, Tapat College of Liberal Arts (CLA) Governor Ella Iellamo shares similar sentiments, reasoning that they want to ensure their representatives’ platforms cater to the students’ welfare.

Further, what both parties look for in an applicant is how far they are willing to go to train for candidacy. Nathan Driz, incumbent Tapat Governor for RVRCOB, shares that his party evaluates their college’s candidates based on their dedication to attend training, which includes participating in focus groups discussions. These activities, he discloses, “ensure that everything Tapat fights for can be seen [in] them as candidates.”

Along with making sure their candidates’ platforms are in tune with Santugon’s values and brands of leadership, CLA SCG Alyanna Del Castillo also points out the importance of their candidates meeting the standard requirements of candidacy as per the USG Election Code, including factors such as a minimum cumulative grade point average of 1.75 and not having major offenses.

Meticulous processes

Del Castillo describes Santugon’s screening process as “thorough” and “very meticulous”, which helps in determining which members are truly deserving of running for the positions. Looking for those who embody the characteristics of Santugon’s values—faith and responsibility, integrity, individuality, family, and passion for service—she reasons, “We look for people with those kinds of quality. As a Santugon leader, kailangan you set the standards and magaling ka in your own right.”

(You are talented in your own right.)

For Santugon, their training comprises of room-to-room campaigns, question and answer, and news reporting, which Gacosta discloses to almost always reach late into the night due to RVRCOB having night classes.

Admitting that their process is “time consuming”, Del Castillo points out, “We always remind them (applicants) na bago ka maging kandidato—bago ka maging student leader— you’re always a student first.”

(We always remind them that before you become a candidate—before you become a student leader—you’re always a student first.)

Similarly, Iellamo briefly explains her party’s process of evaluating running candidates, calling their procedure Convention. Questioning applicants on social issues within the University and evaluating their answer after, she reveals, helps determine whether or not they are worthy enough to “run under the banner of Tapat.”

Driz also bares that Convention was patterned after political parties in the United States, in that their (Tapat) members vote from within their ranks for who they think would be commendable in running for a position in the USG.

He expounds that the candidates will be evaluated by a plenary, who will in turn vote on whether or not the aforementioned applicants are be qualified for the position. “If only one person is convening to run, the voters have the choice to either vote for that person or to abstain,” Driz adds and continues, “This is effective because it goes to show who’s the candidate the party is ready to rally for.”

Despite the rigorous system of making sure their (parties) candidates are worthy of office, the decision, ultimately, still rests on the student body to determine whether or not these candidates are up to standards. 

information from interviews with Tapat College Governors Ella Iellamo and Nates Driz, and Santugon College General (SCG) Alyanna Del Castillo and fomer SCG Mavi Gacosta

Enrico Sebastian Salazar

By Enrico Sebastian Salazar

Contributor of University and Vanguard since TLS 58. Internal Development Manager in TLS 59. Currently designing the new website.

Denise Nicole Uy

By Denise Nicole Uy

Leave a Reply