Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) regained control over the University Student Government (USG) after running unopposed by its rival party in the University’s first hybrid election season. The 2022 Make-Up Elections (MUE) finished with Tapat garnering 57 of the 73 elected seats, sweeping the Executive Board (EB) and Laguna campus positions.
This was the first time in the history of the USG that Tapat had won the full Executive Board slate. In 2012, the party only managed to win the presidential election. Meanwhile, in 2021, only their executive treasurer candidate failed to get an EB seat. The last time Tapat ran against only independent candidates was in 2015, and those elections notoriously failed—a meager 35.9 percent of the student population had voted.
Rival party Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) did not field candidates this year amid various controversies ahead of the election period. But an investigation by The LaSallian found that at least half of the independent candidates had either run as a candidate, participated as a member, or held a position under Santugon.
The minimum required voter turnout for a valid election, 50 percent plus one, was much more difficult to reach this year that the DLSU Commission on Elections (Comelec) had to extend the voting period up to the legal maximum number of days. Even then, the FAST2019 batch government slate did not get enough votes. Only 12,489 students out of 24,093 or 51.83 percent cast their votes in this year’s MUE.
A red wave
Tapat bagged four of all the college presidential seats. Only the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business (RVRCOB) and the School of Economics (SOE) elected independent candidates as college presidents, while there were no candidates for the College of Computer Studies (CCS) presidential position.
In the Legislative Assembly, Tapat managed to secure most seats—bagging 14 out of 18. This is a first since the 2019 General Elections.
Freshmen batches also voted predominantly red this year—an outcome that has not happened in recent USG election history.
Another noteworthy change was the College of Liberal Arts’ (CLA) voting patterns. The college, which has shown mixed support for the two parties—except for last year’s blue domination—voted straight Tapat this year. FAST2020, though, stood by their former Santugon batch president and her vice president.
The Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE), meanwhile, was traditionally a Santugon stronghold. This year, Tapat will run the college.
The party also maintained their influence over the Br. Andrew Gonzalez College of Education (BAGCED) and SOE.
Meanwhile, Tapat did not field candidates aside from the CATCH2T26 positions in the historically Santugon-leaning CCS. RVRCOB, another Santugon bailiwick, was dominated by independent candidates, most of whom were affiliated with Santugon.
Another first for the Executive Board is new USG President Alex Brotonel, the first to hail from BAGCED. All previous USG presidents were from bigger colleges like CLA, RVRCOB, or GCOE. She is also the first to beat an independent candidate for the same position.
While the last two elections were mired in controversies, this year’s elections were fairly uneventful. At most, independent candidates were grilled about their previous affiliations in the debate, miting de avance, and interviews with The LaSallian. Tapat called former Santugon members’ runs as independent candidates a “hasty” attempt to distance themselves from their parties.
And the quiet manifested in the voter turnout. The total turnout per college barely crossed the halfway point, except for the small colleges. Batch-wide turnouts from ID 119 and below, except for those in RVRCOB and SOE, all did not reach 50 percent. This was also the case for all CCS batches, except the freshman batch.
Additionally, there are 25 total vacant positions. The Computer Studies Government has the most with 10. The Laguna Campus Student Government and the college assemblies of GCOE, CLA, and SOE all have three vacant positions. The RVRCOB and the College of Science have one and two, respectively.
According to the Omnibus Election Code, Special Elections can be held in case of vacancies. It will be up to Comelec if and when they will hold it.
EDITOR’S NOTE: December 8, 2022
The article has been edited to clarify information on the history of Tapat in the University General Elections.