Seven independents headline GE 2024 amid Tapat, Santugon blunders

GE 2024 becomes the first major student government election with no candidates from both political parties and no aspirants for the USG executive board.

The University Student Government (USG) will see its first election in its 15-year history without political rivals Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon (Santugon) and Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista (Tapat) after only seven independent candidates were announced to run for General Elections (GE) 2024.

This year’s polls is also set to be the first one to push through without executive board runners; the lineup consists of four candidates from the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and three candidates from the College of Science (COS)—all vying for college assembly and batch government seats.

Last May, the DLSU Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared Tapat ineligible to run for elections after the party pleaded guilty of two counts of party electioneering and 20 counts of candidate electioneering, resulting in eight major offenses and two minor offenses. This is well beyond the three major offenses needed to disqualify a party from elections.

Still, two then-Tapat electeds, former FAST2022 Batch Vice President (BVP) Elise Santos and outgoing FOCUS2022 Batch Legislator (BL) Vien Dy, will see action in the upcoming polls to vie for Arts College Government president and FOCUS2022 batch president (BP), respectively. 

In a statement on July 1, Comelec also explained that Santugon was not able to submit complete requirements, specifically the C-02 documents or Certificate of Verification, on time despite being notified of the schedule before its official release. They specify that while Santugon met the deadline for preliminary requirements that required the Comelec’s signature, the party only began uploading final documents minutes after the cutoff time. 

Santugon was also said to have requested for an extension two minutes before the 6 pm deadline due to “slow internet connection.” The request was rejected since Comelec deemed that there were means for Santugon to prevent and resolve the raised problem, such as submitting requirements earlier or having other party representatives upload instead.

Santugon is yet to release their own statement on the matter.

The lack of candidates assures a special election in Term 1 due to failure to elect candidates in most positions, as stipulated in Article V, Section 2.1.7 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Without runners for most positions, incumbents are expected to extend their tenure until the special election or until their position is declared vacant when the second consecutive election fails. According to the USG Constitution, this second failure will be the only time when appointments for officers for the rest of the academic year can be made.

In case of incapacity to work, removal, or resignation of the USG president or a batch president, the vice president for internal affairs or BVP will temporarily take over both their and the president’s positions until an appointment is made to replace them in their original position. 

Appointing a new executive board member aside from the USG president would require their endorsement and the approval of the Legislative Assembly (LA). As for batch units, the remaining officers would need to recommend replacement officers to their college president and have them confirmed by the LA.

Carl Joshua Mamuri

By Carl Joshua Mamuri

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