Bontoc students protest campus election fraud
By LEXVIN COS-AGON
BONTOC, Mt. Province — “No to Dirty Politics! No to Red tagging and vilification! No to Budget Cut, No to Tuition and Other Fee Increases. Edukasyon Karapatan ng Mamamayan!”
These were among the slogans shouted by members of Struggle and Assert our Vigilance for our right to Education (SAVE) Party, League of Progressive Students (LPS), Kabataan Partylist (KPL)-MP chapter and some concerned students of Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) Bontoc Campus who staged a picket in front of the college last July27 in support to the election protest filed by SAVE Party members.
The picket was organized in order to air the students disappointment over the results of the SSC election last July 25 at MPSPC– Bontoc campus. The alleged anomalies are violations to the election code by the Commission on Student Election (CSE).
“We question the composition of the CSE officers and recommend the investigation of the validity of the election. There were 64 applicants of the CSE who will undergo screening. Those screened will vote for those to compose the CSE. After screening, only 48 qualified to be members of the CSE, but the unscreened 16 were able to vote for the CSE composition. The unscreened 16 comprises 33% of the total number of votes which could have entailed different results in the selection of CSE officers,” said Mae Magranga of the SAVE Party.
Magranga further said that the CSE have violated their oath for impartiality and neutrality as specified under Section12 of Article II of the election code.
Complainants alleged that some members of the CSE were directly campaigning for some candidates. They added that some marshals from the ROTC, who are also members of the CSE, are expected to practice the same neutrality, however, Maureen Ongan, a marshal, was directly engaged in the character assassination against Magranga through her (Ongan) text messages that were sent to students.
Magranga cited Ongan’s text message which read, “How can Mae Magranga save the school yet where is she during rallies,they only opposed the student leaders b4 in fact Magranga is pro-Dacyon and she is under the Cordillera People’s Alliance which is branch of NPA Communist Party. Plz pass Hantau itulok nga NPA ti agPresidente kadatau nga students.”
She said that this action is a direct violation of section 7 of Article VI of the election code which prohibits dirty politicking. “It is most apparent that the act of Miss Ongan was a form of character assassination and black propaganda,” she added.
She also added that final canvassing was not conducted immediately after tallying in the precinct level. “The standard procedure is that canvassing immediately follows after the tallying in the precinct level and shall resume until all returns have been canvassed. Proclamation then immediately follows. Tallying, canvassing and proclamation should all be held under public view. The delayed canvassing has made the result of the election stale and therefore unreliable and very questionable,” she pointed out.
According to Maricel Galeng, a member of the CSE, “One of the major violations of the CSE Chairman is the discreet preparation of ballots and allowing a non-CSE member Cherry Mae Facullo to intervene in the decisions of CSE like in the ballot preparation.” She condemned the violations of the CSE Chairman and already submitted recommendations for sanctions to the Director of Student Affairs and their adviser.
“It is indeed alarming that even in the student elections, the traditional dirty politics of the country is practiced. How much more when these youths will become future leaders in the country?” Johnson Taya-an of SAVE party said.
He stressed that, “CSE manipulation of the SSC election is an attempt to stop us from pursuing our calls to Stop Budget Cuts, Increase government subsidy for education and other basic social services, and Stop Red tagging and vilification”.
Taya-an challenged the youth and students to pursue their calls and continue to promote alternative politics of change in the campus.
Marceline Pilala, spokesperson of LPS-Anakbayan, in an interview, condemned the 300% tuition fee increase motioned by a certain Aaron Fagyana, a student trustee and SSC presidential candidate. She said that a true student leader should promote the interest of the whole studentry and not to motion for a 300% tuition fee increase.
Pilala said that the government should not pass the burden to the parents and students. “Ti Edukasyon ket karbengan kas nakalanad iti konstitusyon. Dapat ket libre ken dekalidad ti edukasyon a masuportaran iti baybayadan tayo a buwis kas ti VAT, E-VAT ken daduma pay.” # nordis.net