Santugon dominates SE 2019, wins 15 of 21 frosh seats

The frosh have decided—and they chose blue and yellow.

Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) took the majority of the ID 119 seats in Special Elections (SE) 2019, sweeping 15 of the 21 positions up for grabs. Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat), on the other hand, won the remaining six, namely all the positions in EXCEL2022, the CATCH2T23 Batch Vice President and Legislative Assembly (LA) Representative seats, and the FAST2019 Batch President seat. Meanwhile, all seats in 74th ENG, BLAZE2022, EDGE2019, and FOCUS2019 were claimed by Santugon.

The election also sought to resolve the unfilled seats left vacant in the aftermath of General Elections (GE) 2019. Batch Vice President seats in EXCEL2020 and EXCEL2019—the only positions with one candidate running for each—were also won by Santugon, while the other 13 vacancies will be filled through appointments conducted by the LA, a resolution published by the DLSU Commission on Elections said. Incumbent officers will extend their terms until their replacements are found.

Forgiven and forgotten?

The campaign trail was not without its fair share of issues. During the open forum segment of the Miting De Avance last November 22, Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) President Nates Driz, who previously ran under Tapat, asked both parties whether it was time to forgive the Marcos family for the atrocities they committed during the Martial Law era. 

CATCH2T23 LA Representative candidate Riley Uy (I, CS-ST) responded to the question on behalf of his party, saying, “As a Santugon leader, I believe that everyone should be driven by passion and not by hate. And that’s why I believe that we should forgive what the Marcoses have done, but we should never forget what they have done.”

The statement received widespread backlash online, with DLSU students and outsiders alike calling out the party and the candidate as alleged Marcos apologists. Uy, Santugon President Marga Dela Cruz, and the party have all issued separate statements to clarify their stance, saying that they have neither forgiven nor forgotten what transpired under the Marcos regime.

Yet Dela Cruz had previously declared a similar apologetic statement during the Martial Law commemoration rally last September 20, even though the party was founded as a response to the political climate post-Martial Law. 

“We can forgive, but we should never forget,” she told protesters at the time.

Although the outcry was severe, other Santugon candidates’ prospects for their positions seemed relatively unmarred by the incident; colleges apart from Uy’s mostly voted for the said party in an  election that saw record numbers turn up in polling booths over the four-day voting period. 

Of the 4,141 students that compose the ID 119 population, 2,239 of them exercised their right to vote, reaching an overall turnout of 73.12 percent—a significant improvement from the turnout of General Elections (GE) 2019, which ended with a 53.96 percent turnout, and SE 2018, which closed at 54.42 percent.

Tapat, who made an impressive comeback in GE 2019 by sweeping seats in a fashion unheard of in over a decade, failed to replicate its dominating win from the previous term.

Party trends

With five legislative seats bagged, Santugon reasserts its influence in the LA with 11 legislators representing the party, an increase from the six seats it won in GE 2019. Tapat narrowly maintains its majority as it holds 12 seats, but a divided Assembly may prove to be a challenge for both parties, who each seek to carry out their own planned projects over the rest of the year. 

Among Santugon’s agendas for the LA are reviewing the class allotment process for shiftees, drafting guidelines for hybrid classes, and lobbying for representation for athletes and special interest groups, the latter of which is similar to the reforms also pushed by Tapat in GE 2019.

Party majorities across colleges also seem to have remained unchanged. Tapat still remains a driving force in the School of Economics, having secured all three frosh seats, and the College of Computer Studies, conceding only one position across all batches. While it failed to win frosh seats in the Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education, it still remains the dominant party overall.

Santugon, on the other hand, is still largely represented in RVRCOB and the Gokongwei College of Engineering. 

The College of Science and the College of Liberal Arts, meanwhile, remain divided between the two parties, as different batches lean to either Tapat or Santugon.

ERRATUM: It was incorrectly stated that 2,239 students exercised their right to vote in the Special Elections 2019. Instead, 3,028 students voted out of the 4,141 ID 119 students eligible to vote, resulting in a turnout of 73.12 percent.

The LaSallian apologizes for the error.

Frank Santiago

By Frank Santiago

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