By Paulynne Joyce R. dela Cruz
and Jameela I. Mendoza
SILLIMAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS (SUSG COMELEC) made final decisions on the complaints filed by political parties Concerted Actions for the Upliftment of Students’ Endeavors (CAUSE) and Students’ Union for Reforms (SURE) against each other.
Last Feb. 10, CAUSE and SURE party filed complaints against each other for violating certain provisions in the Rules and Regulations for the Conduct of the Feb. 24, 2016 SUSG Elections.
COMELEC Chairperson Rosel Erames said that CAUSE party filed a complaint first.
The letters of complaint filed by CAUSE party against SURE said that current SUSG Vice President Nikko Calledo, standard bearer for vice president Charmaine Malata, and representative candidate Isabella Angan have violated Article III Sections 1 (C and D) and Section 2 (E) of the SUSG Elections Rules and Regulations.
It is first stated in the said sections that “publishing or distributing campaign literatures or materials designed to support the election of any candidates, directly or indirectly soliciting votes, pledges or support for a candidate,” and “posting pictures and videos online through social media websites, such as, but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.” are allowed.
After one of the COMELEC’s meetings with the two parties, Twitter and Instagram were excluded because Calledo suggested that Sec. 2 (E) of Article III should be limited to Facebook and YouTube only.
However, the complaint filed by CAUSE party said that Calledo posted a tweet that showed support to SURE’s candidates for president and vice president.
In an interview with Calledo, he explained that it was not his intention to violate the rules and said that he is willing to pay the fine for it.
“Sayup gyud sya [the tweet] nako. I really have bad memory…Bawal diay ang Twitter. I even reminded them [in the meeting with COMELEC] not to tweet,” Calledo said. Calledo will pay a fine of Php 1,500.
Meanwhile, Angan’s disqualification case was denied by the COMELEC. She is still a candidate to run as a college representative in the College of Mass Communication, but she will pay Php 1,000, as imposed by the COMELEC.
The COMELEC also denied the petition to disqualify Malata as the evidence she presented justified that she did not reply nor re-tweet Calledo’s Twitter post.
Meanwhile, the complaint filed by SURE against CAUSE stated that CAUSE’s candidate for College of Education representative Christian Sagun gathered support for CAUSE’s candidate for president, Ina Elnar, through a text message.
According to the complaint from SURE party, the text message sent by Sagun was said to be a “violation” to Article III Section 4 (5) or Rules of Brevity in the COMELEC’s Rules and Regulations.
Both parties have agreed in one of the COMELEC’s meetings on the CAUSE party’s suggestion to prohibit the use of text messages for campaigning to protect the parties and candidates.
In the COMELEC’s hearing last Feb. 12, CAUSE party denied the allegations saying that the complaint did not contain the receiver’s name and the time it was received.
However, in the same hearing, SURE party presented Kerrin Elumba, a SURE party candidate, as witness showing the text message to the COMELEC. Sagun was not present during the meeting because he “had a class at that time.”
Last Feb. 16, the COMELEC decided to disqualify Sagun to run for the position of college representative.
“The COMELEC is unanimous in its decision to disqualify Mr. Sagun, since the act of directly soliciting votes through SMS text is expressly prohibited under our Rules. To condone the same by reason of mere “human error” or “accident” will render our Rules nugatory,” said Erames.
According to COMELEC, CAUSE party will appeal the decision. The Weekly Sillimanian has yet to hear the side of Sagun.~