Copuyoc wins big in Sanggu elections

Independent Presidential Candidate Drew Copuyoc has won the race for the Sanggunian presidency by a landslide, garnering 56.9% of the 4,298 votes cast.

Partido IsaBuhay IsaGawa – Agila (IBIG-Agila) standard-bearer Misha Solano and Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (Crusada) pick Bian Villanueva trailed behind, getting 21.7% and 13.9% of the votes, respectively.

The Ateneo Commission on Elections (Comelec) released the official results of the elections through a memo at 3:34 AM today. However, they released an “updated” version of the memo eight hours later, which corrected some figures and included more information about the constituency count and quota requirements.

The elections were held on February 17, 18, 23 and 24. It was originally planned to happen in two days only, but the Student Judicial Court (SJC) ordered the extension of the voting period so that the entire student body can be accommodated.

The winning candidates for the Top Four positions are as follows:

• President – Drew Copuyoc (IV BS ME), independent

• Vice President – Gio Alejo (II BS HSc), IBIG-Agila

• Secretary-General – Ian Agatep (II BS Mgt), IBIG-Agila

• Finance Officer – Steph Gumaru (III AB EU), IBIG-Agila

‘Real challenge begins’

Copuyoc expressed happiness about the outcome of the elections. “This was one of the longest and most gruelling elections we’ve had in a long time,” he said. “Now that it’s over, the real challenge begins.”

He called on his fellow winning candidates to start working on their campaign promises. “We have one year to do that. Let’s make that year count,” Copuyoc said.

Losing presidential bets Solano and Villanueva both congratulated the winners of the elections.

“I’d like to congratulate all the candidates for participating in the elections,” Solano said. “I hope that the elections was a learning experience for everyone, be it [the Sanggunian officers], the Comelec and the students.”

Villanueva admitted that, for him, there is “a tinge of sadness” to the election results, but also said that he accepts “the decision of the people.”

“I’m still committed to working for the promises I made,” he added. “[I will work to] bring democracy back to the Sanggunian, bring transparency and accountability back to the Sanggunian.”

“I hope that, by my running, the political culture of the Ateneo will not be the same again,” he said.

Villanueva’s running mate, losing Vice Presidential candidate James Roman, echoed his partner’s sentiments. “I wish [the winners] the best of luck,” he said. “I will still continue what I was pushing for and I will not allow this loss to stop me from speaking my mind.”

Secretary-General-elect Agatep, on the other hand, is looking forward to a Sanggunian dominated by IBIG-Agila.

“It’s going to be a challenging year, and with an [IBIG-Agila] majority, we want to show that we will IsaBuhay at IsaGawa,” he said.

CB divided

Control of the Sanggunian Central Board (CB) has been split between IBIG-Agila and the Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL). The CB is the Sanggunian’s highest policy-making body.

Six ASL CB candidates won in their respective jurisdictions, compared to only four from the IBIG-Agila-supported Nasyonalista coalition.

However, the Top Four Sanggunian officers are also members of the CB, therefore raising the number of IBIG-Agila-held CB seats to seven.

Still, while ASL only has six seats nominally, Copuyoc aligns himself with this coalition, effectively blocking a decisive IBIG-Agila CB majority.

Representative-elect Cheth Mundin (III BS MIS) is the only independent joining the CB next year. Meanwhile, abstain won over IBIG-Agila and Crusada’s respective bets for the Senior School of Social Sciences (SOSS) CB Rep.

Three SBs for IBIG-Agila

IBIG-Agila also had major gains in the different School Boards (SB).

Through Nasyonalista, the party swept the SB races in SOSS and the School of Humanities, and clinched all SB positions in the School of Science and Engineering, except for one.

ASL, however, continued to dominate in the School of Management (SOM), winning all the contested positions in the SB. IBIG-Agila fielded only one SB candidate for SOM.

‘Unlawful electioneering’

Meanwhile, even with Vice President-elect Alejo’s decisive victory in the polls, Crusada has announced that it is filing a case against him for “unlawful electioneering.”

In line with this move, Crusada has officially withheld congratulations for Alejo, while it congratulated all the other winning candidates.

“We’ve gathered evidence pinning Gio Alejo for unlawful electioneering,” Crusada Premier Miguel Rivera said. “We’ve been gathering evidence on all possible election violations, but [for] some candidates—while it was pretty obvious that they cheated—people weren’t giving evidence or signing affidavits. As for Gio Alejo, we found some people who are willing to [testify].”

Walang personalan ito (There’s nothing personal here),” Rivera said. “Nakakalungkot at nakakagalit na may isang kandidato na ginagawa ito. Sayang, kasi maganda sana ang record niya. (It’s saddening and infuriating that a candidate does these things. That’s a shame, because his record is otherwise good.)”

Rivera expressed hope that this will serve as a lesson for Alejo and all the other candidates, and clarified that even if Alejo is prosecuted, Roman would not be able to assume the position.

Sought for comment, Alejo said in a message to The GUIDON, “Just let [Crusada] give their arguments and we’ll discuss them in the SJC. As far as I’m concerned, I believe I have done nothing wrong and my supporters and those who have known me for a long time can attest to that.”

Villanueva, who is also a Crusada ranking officer, said that his party is planning to meet with Alejo.

‘High turnout’

There were reports that there was a 79% turnout in the recent elections. However, The GUIDON has not yet been able to independently verify this.

Based on raw data from the Comelec, however, it can be seen that the entire voting constituency had a 53.9% turnout. This figure includes the senior votes, which are not considered part of quota. As of press time, there is not enough information to derive the turnout of quota voters (i.e., freshman, sophomore, and junior voters), and the Comelec has not responded to The GUIDON’s queries.

In the Sanggu Bantay Halalan 2011 Facebook group, though, incumbent Sanggunian President Rob Roque commended the student body for a high election turnout.

“I hope this translates to real change in the Sanggunian—not just the incoming administration but also the student body,” he said.

In the same Facebook group, SJC Chief Magistrate Robert Beltejar spoke about how his Court’s order to extend the polls helped bring about the high voter turnout.

“I hope that the higher voter turnout percentage serves to prove the wisdom of the SJC’s decision to order the extension of the election period to afford everyone the chance to vote,” he said.

He also expressed faith in the students and claimed that they are not indifferent to the elections. “I am of the firm belief that the Atenean, given the opportunity, will really go out and exercise his or her right to vote,” he said.

Editor’s Note: A table with the results of the elections will be uploaded here within the day.


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Results

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ASL, Crusada, IBIG-Agila seek election extension

Despite the meeting of the Loyola Schools-wide voting quota, the three major political formations participating in the Sanggunian General Elections are standing by a petition they filed last Friday night to the Ateneo Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Student Judicial Court (SJC), which asked for an extension of the voting period.

The petition called on the Comelec and the SJC to study whether an extension is possible on Monday, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

(Related Content: ASL, Crusada and IBIG-Agila’s Joint Petition to Extend the Elections)

Lacking one vote

The Alliance of Student Leaders (ASL), the Christian Union for Socialist and Democratic Advancement (Crusada), and Partido IsaBuhay IsaGawa – Agila (IBIG-Agila) said in their joint petition that there was a “possibility of some units not reaching their required number of votes.”

This was proven true yesterday night, when the Comelec released a memo showing the voter turnout per year level, per school. Although the 50%+1 quota was met for the entire Loyola Schools (LS), with a total voter turnout of 59.7% (not including the non-quota senior and supersenior votes), the School of Humanities (SOH) only achieved a flat 50.0% voter turnout—one vote short of meeting quota.

Only the sophomores in the said school exceeded the 50% threshold. The freshman and junior turnout only hit 47.1% and 49.0%, respectively.

SOH has had a history of difficulty when it comes to meeting the voting quota.

‘Technical disenfranchisement’

“Though we have already reached [59.7%] for the [entire Loyola Schools], we believe that reaching the quota is not enough,” said ASL chairperson Claudia Vega.

“We have always aimed for a 100% voter turnout. However, technical glitches and other concerns have discouraged most students to vote,” she continued.

Crusada ranking officer and independent presidential candidate Bian Villanueva shared Vega’s sentiments. “It’s in the best interests of the student body to extend the elections. We don’t want to experience the mass technical disenfranchisement of the students,” he said.

LS-wide turnout to make or break

Vega said that ASL met three times with IBIG-Agila and Crusada last Friday, with the second meeting being attended by the Comelec and the SJC.

“[In the meeting], Comelec told us that an extension would depend on whether or not we meet quota by 6 PM [on the last election day],” Vega said. If the LS-wide quota is reached, Comelec said that there would be no election extension.

However, the three political formations decided to file the said joint petition in order to give students more time to vote.

IBIG-Agila presidential bet Misha Solano said that her party decided to co-file the petition because the election’s current timeframe could not accommodate the entire voting population.

“Even though a 100% voting turnout [was improbable], Comelec should have been ready to accommodate [all the voters],” she said.

The petition said that if all eligible voters wanted to cast their votes, “the opportunity would not present itself.”

According to the Comelec’s memo on the constituent count released two weeks ago, there are 6,004 eligible voters whose votes are considered as part of the quota (i.e., freshman, sophomore, and junior voters).

The three political formations based the conclusions of their petition on the assumption that each of these 6,004 students takes one and a half minutes to vote. With 12 computer terminals (supposedly with three computers each for the four voting stations), 40 students can in theory be accommodated per hour, per computer.

Voting was planned to be held from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, a total of 16 hours for the two election days. This means that a total of 7,680 students could have been accommodated for the duration of the elections, given the mentioned assumption.

In this situation, the petition said, a 100% voter turnout would be possible. The calculations in the petition also showed that even if a four-hour downtime occurred, the elections would still have been able to accommodate a complete voter turnout.

However, the petition argued that many system glitches and other variables threw off the time estimates. Connectivity problems hounded the elections, with the system going offline a number of times during the duration of the polls. There were also reports of erroneous ballots and polling stations without Comelec representatives, among other reported problems.

“Students were also not given clear instructions on how to vote. Others who have lined up to vote didn’t know they were supposed to get their passwords,” Vega said. “Time was wasted.”

SJC has final say

The petition concluded that “the system used and the four-hour buffer that came with it did not provide a very high possibility that every Atenean could have voted.”

“If the elections did not give equal chance for every single member of the constituency, then the concluded elections has failed to put democratically voted leaders into a democratic institution,” the petition said.

As of press time, there is still no word as to whether the said extension will be granted.

Yesterday noon, however, Comelec Commissioner Ray Lacsamana said in the Sanggu Bantay Halalan 2011 Facebook group that “[the Comelec] will wait for SJC’s response.”

Updated at 1:49 PM, February 20, 2011

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Election violations mar first day of Sanggu polls

For some, politics is dirty business.

Filipinos get resigned to this fact every three years, when the entire nation goes to the precincts. It came as a surprise to many, though, that student politics in the Ateneo would also be muddled with such mudslinging, disregard for the rules and questionable tactics as what happened yesterday during the first day of the Sanggunian General Elections.

Low blows

Developmental Studies Senior Course Representative Candidate Jed Llanes noted that some candidates yesterday were “pulling voters” to the polling stations, “whispering [the names of the candidates] to vote for.”

Making the same observation, Presidential Candidate Drew Copuyoc made a plea last night in the Sanggu Bantay Halalan 2011 Facebook group.

“To all candidates and supporters, let’s not pressure or coerce the student body to vote for specific candidates tomorrow,” he said.

On the other hand, a Top Four candidate who wished not to be named said that mudslinging occurred even in the voting stations. “There have been candidates telling voters not to vote for me… That is a great injustice.”

The candidate added that some aspiring officers were standing by the polling stations “with campaign materials in their hands.”

The GUIDON also observed early morning yesterday that the said candidate’s posters, which are displayed in the Rizal Library computers as part of the authorized wallpapers, have been defaced and vandalized.

Off-key tactics

A student who wished not to be named also accused Partido IsaBuhay IsaGawa – Agila (IBIG-Agila) stalwart and current School of Social Sciences Sophomore Central Board Representative Third Fernandez of pressuring students in the Science Education Complex – A (SEC-A) polling station to vote for certain candidates.

The student said that Fernandez sang the Aerosmith song “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” to some students waiting to vote, altered in such a way to include IBIG-Agila Presidential Candidate Misha Solano’s name in the lyrics.

The student, who was present in the incident, added that when the voter Fernandez was singing to laughed, Fernandez said, “Seryosohin mo ako! (Take me seriously!).”

“His presence was really pressuring,” the student said.

In a message he posted in the Sanggu Bantay Halalan 2011 Facebook group, Copuyoc alluded to the situation when he criticized actions such as “…singing a certain song that has a word which sounds like a candidate’s name near the polling station. I think that’s crossing the line.”

Fernandez admitted that the accusations against him are true. However, he said that what he did was “all for fun.”

“We were laughing about it. Katuwaan lang siya. Pati ba naman mere presence ko kakasuhan ng ganoon? (It was just a joke. Are they really protesting my mere presence there?” he said.

“If [people] are really mad at that, then we won’t do anything like that today,” Fernandez added.

Overstaying candidates

Article VIII, Section 4c of the Electoral Code states that “candidates must not stay within the immediate vicinity of the voting center except when casting his/her vote.”

Alliance of Student Leader (ASL) Chairperson and School of Management School Board Chair Candidate Claudia Vega claimed to have observed the “overstaying of certain candidates” in the poll stations.

However, IBIG-Agila Vice-Presidential bet Gio Alejo also said that a party colleague reported an ASL member overstaying in a polling station. Alejo added that the IBIG-Agila officer “had a tiff with [the] ASL member.”

In a later text message to The GUIDON dated February 19, though, Alejo said, “It wasn’t an overstaying ASL member; it was an ASL member who saw an [IBIG-Agila] member and they had a tiff near the the poll station.” Alejo sent the message when sought for clarification, following initial claims that he was misquoted in this article.

(Read The GUIDON’s response to ASL’s request for an apology, following allegations of misquoting Alejo.)

Moreover, The GUIDON independently observed Solano staying in the immediate vicinity of the poll stations in Gonzaga and SEC-A for an extended period of time, possibly constituting a violation of the code. Sought for comment afterwards, she explained that she did encourage her friends to go to the voting stations, but stepped away from the said stations afterwards.

“I apologize if my distance from the [poll stations] after stepping away were still considered ‘within the immediate vicinity’ [of the poll stations],” she said, and promised to stay farther away from such stations today.

For Vega, however, Comelec Commissioners should be “more proactive” in enforcing the rules.

“[Comelec] should remind candidates of the corresponding sanctions when certain violations are made because it seems like they are not taking this very seriously,” Vega said.

Llanes agreed and said that the questionable actions carried out by some of the candidates are attributable to the inefficiencies of the Comelec.

(Related News: Comelec hit for election day snafus)

Indeed, Article VIII, Section 4c of the Electoral Code states that the provision is supposed to be “enforced by the assigned Comelec representative assigned at that particular voting center.”

The Comelec has reiterated this provision in a memorandum released through Facebook at around 4:00 AM today.

Mudslinging

Commenting on the dirty tactics employed this election season, Vice-Presidential Candidate James Roman called the actions “immature,” branding them as not reflective of a “personality that is fit for leadership.” He added that school politics should be treated with utmost reverence.

“If you do not respect politics and the process of elections, have respect for the people who do find politics important. Nakakabastos kasi eh (It’s disrespectful).”

In the same post in the Sanggu Bantay Halalan 2011 Facebook group, Copuyoc says that the candidates should reject such tactics.

Puwede tayong maghatak ng mga tao para [bumoto] pero sana naman ‘wag tayo gumamit ng dirty tactics tulad ng mga parinig. (We may ask people to go out and vote, but I do hope we do not employ dirty tactics such as undue, implicit remarks.)”

With reports from Luther B. Aquino

Updated at 6:45 PM, February 19, 2011

Updated at 6:56 PM, February 19, 2011

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Comelec hit for election day snafus

The Ateneo Commission on Elections (Comelec) once again took flak from several sectors yesterday, as oversights, long lines, privacy concerns and technical glitches hounded the first day of voting in the Sanggunian General Elections.

Junior Jenica Dizon, a School of Humanities (SOH) Executive Officer candidate from the Partido IsaBuhay IsaGawa – Agila-supported coalition Nasyonalista, identified four problems she had with the voting process yesterday: the lack of instructions, the lack of voting privacy safeguards, Comelec’s “lunch break,” and the machine connectivity problems in the poll stations.

“As a candidate, I was quite disheartened. It already takes a huge effort to convince our constituents to vote,” Dizon said.

“We ask [our constituents] to trust and believe in the system, and yet Comelec, with their incompetence and inefficiency, inhibits this,” she added.

“Lunch break,” missing names

Current School of Science and Engineering Senior Central Board Representative Mara Duterte went to Faura Hall yesterday to vote, but the voting station in the area was closed. “It was also like that for the other booths when I asked my friends,” she said.

Comelec received criticism for this when rumors circulated that the poll stations were closed, from around 12:30 to 1:30 PM, to give way for a supposed lunch break for the Comelec personnel.

Dizon said that the “lunch break” caused frustration because some students only had this time for voting. “[It] turns out it was a temporary [suspension] since there were missing names of candidates [in the electronic ballots].”

Comelec Commissioner Ray Lacsamana (II BS CS) verified the report about the missing names, but dismissed the rumors about the lunch break.

“The hearsays about…Comelec members having a lunch break is not true, since [Comelec personnel] have shifts all around,” he said. “But there were too many system problems.”

Regarding the missing names, Lacsamana explained that a third year course representative candidate’s name was not in the ballot, and that the number of seats for the incoming BS CTM course reps were also lacking. Lacsamana attributed “other minor problems” to the fact that the Comelec is undermanned.

The error with the names mirrors the mistakes in last year’s Sanggunian General Elections, in which the official ballots were also lacking the names of some candidates during election day.

Privacy and connectivity

A common complaint that also arose yesterday was the lack of privacy safeguards in the voting process.

“It would have been better if dividers were placed at the sides of each computer,” Dizon said. “I could really see who the person in front of me and beside me were voting for.”

The same complaint has been raised a number of times in the Sanggu Bantay Halalan 2011 Facebook group.

There were also reports of repeated connectivity problems. Poll stations were sometimes offline even while there was a long line of people waiting to vote.

Dizon decried this as a hassle. She criticized how, along with some other people, she had to wait in turn only to be told that the system is “offline.”

“Every time the system goes offline, every time they ask the students to transfer to another station, every time something goes wrong, votes are lost,” she said.

“Not all students are willing to be hassled.”

Nullified votes

Dizon explained that the irregularities will definitely be detrimental to the outcome of the elections. She expressed particular concern about SOH, her school, which historically has a hard time meeting the vote quota.

According to Lacsamana, the students who voted for the parties affected by the irregularities before 12:30 yesterday would have their votes nullified due to the complications that arose.

“They would have to vote again [today],” he said.

Comelec response

In line with the concerns and criticisms raised yesterday, the Comelec released a memorandum and a resolution through Facebook at around 4:00 AM today. The memorandum reported the election turnout for the first day, in which the School of Science and Engineering has the highest with 24.38%. However, the data includes the senior and supersenior votes, which won’t be considered as part of the vote quota.

The memorandum also identified thirteen students “highly encouraged to vote again, due to some technical problems in the voting system.”

In the resolution, the Comelec promulgated a decision to extend the voting period today to 5:30 PM, from the previous 4:30 PM, to make up for the one hour lost during the suspension of polls yesterday.

With reports from Emmanuel D. Delocado and Nicole M. Acosta

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School Board candidates present plans in Miting de Avance

The bell had already rung but the Leong Hall auditorium was still almost empty. Aside for five or so students—most of whom were dressed in yellow—no one else had arrived for the Miting de Avance for the Sanggunian School Board candidates.

Fifteen minutes and more than a dozen students later, the program finally started. Each executive officer candidate was given two minutes to present their platforms, and the secretary-treasurer and school chairperson candidates were given three minutes each.

There were 25 candidates in all, but their platforms all had running themes: student empowerment and involvement, consultations, information dissemination systems, and closer linkages with the school departments and the administration. Most candidates also planned to push for career programs specifically catered to their constituents.

Things came to a head during the question and answer forum, as panelists and audience members alike challenged several candidates’ platforms.

The Assembly president Patricia Wong drew stunned reactions from the audience when she asked the four chair candidates to explain what they have done for student empowerment “when you cannot even empower them enough to come here tonight and to listen to your respective platforms.”

“[You] don’t seem to understand what representation means. There are 25 speakers tonight, and there are barely 100 people in this room,” she continued.

She added that connections to the student body should have started even before the campaign period or upon their election into office.

In response, the chairperson candidates pointed out that some students had classes, as the Miting de Avance was not scheduled during activity hours.

School of Management chairperson candidate Claudia Vega added that she would start by training her representatives.

“Representation is all about talking to your constituents and addressing them by consulting with them and forwarding their concerns to the department and administration,” she said.

School of Science and Engineering candidate Alyssa Gaisano said she plans to implement service oriented projects and to conduct surveys to know what students want for their Sanggunian.

School of Social Sciences candidate Ana Raymundo stressed the value of personal connections. “I’d like to think that I try to make a personal relationship with the block and course representatives, not just the ones in my batch,” she said.

Meanwhile, School of Humanities candidate Lance Viado said two factors are involved. “You need to personally tell them that they can participate in projects,” he said in a mix of Filipino and English. “The representatives should also know how to lead and solve problems.”

The first audience question of the day came from Third Fernandez, sophomore School of Social Science Central Board representative, who directed his queries not at the candidates, but to the Commission on Elections.

“What time will elections start tomorrow?” he asked, eliciting laughter from the audience.

Miting de Avance host Commissioner Ray Lacsamana answered his question, saying the Commission will set up the booths before 9am.

Fernandez asked,”Is Comelec ready for the elections tomorrow?”

Lacsamana said that a testing of the election system had already been conducted, the details of which had been posted on Comelec Facebook fanpage.

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Q&A: The Presidential Candidates

For the first time in a long while, not only one or two candidates will battle out for the Presidential seat. This time, three valiant student-leaders will stand up to fight for the changes they wish to instigate in the Loyola Schools.

In the first part of the three-part Blue Ballot Q&A Exchange Series, Presidential bets Misha Solano (IBIG-Agila), Drew Copuyoc (Independent), and Bian Villanueva (Independent) answer the questions of the other Top 4 candidates.

Interviews:

Misha Solano

Drew Copuyoc

Bian Villanueva

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Steph Gumaru: Prioritizing the people

IBIG-Agila’s Finance Officer Candidate, Steph Gumaru, does it all. She was part of Entablado’s production team; enjoys socializing, and plays badminton and baseball in her spare time. But most importantly, Steph values the importance of establishing relationships with people that surround her.

Under the guidance of current Finance Officer Reg Guevara, the European Studies Major has been exposed to various treasury jobs. It was through this training that she felt the need to up her game from being the School of Social Sciences’ Secretary-Treasurer to concentrating on handling the entire Financial Department of the Sanggunian.

Steph’s platform is inspired by her own name: S to stand for student empowerment, T to signify transparency and accountability, an E for efficiency, and a clever use of the last two letters, PH, to mean ph-riend.

“[There is a need] for students to be holistically developed,” she explains as she goes on with her platform. Putting importance on an individual’s growth is something Steph wants to pursue if elected Finance Officer.

To make this possible, the candidate stresses the need to become more approachable to make communicating with the student body much easier and more effective. Some of her plans are to be implemented during grand consultations with goals of promoting the department’s trustworthiness.

“I plan to hash out the miscellaneous and several fee found in the tuition, seeing as it is the students’ money [that is at hand],” she adds to further reiterate her focus on transparency should the position be given to her.

Her leadership strategy rests on her strong philosophy of wanting the student’s to have a voice. “Both [the students’ and the Sanggunian’s] sides should be voiced. The [student council] should be neutral, since it is ultimately about the students,” she says.

This vision is to be executed through consultations wherein Steph, together with the students, can openly discuss and go through the problems and concerns they might need some clarifications on.

It is very uncommon to find a Finance Officer who focuses more on the relationships they establish with their subordinates. More often than not, their platforms contain financial jargon no one even understands.

But for Steph, it will always be about the people.

*Interviews by Victor F. Felix

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Ian Agatep: External Information, Internal Integration

Ian Agatep is in the middle of discussing administrative work and information dissemination with utmost seriousness, when suddenly he makes a wisecrack about being a male secretary. Not that he minds. He is well aware that the past few Secretary-Generals were women—in fact, he brings up this tidbit himself— but he is adamant in saying than a man can be the head honcho of centralized information.

“I would say that it’s work for an acquired taste,” Ian says simply. “But let’s face it: the most important information you can get is from the Secretary-General. And the person with more information has the advantage.”

Ian offers a fresh take on the different versions of the I-will-create-change statements that most candidates use. “I won’t ‘change’, per se, but I’ll improve [on it],” he says.

Execution is not enough. Ian believes that it’s about fixing the problems that the previous Secretary-General wasn’t able to do. It’s also about continuing the previously successful platforms.

“After realizing how the Sanggunian works internally and externally, you get to see how the systems work,” says Ian. “You see how it ticks.”

Ian points out that the way students react to information from their representatives is different from the way they react to the very same information coming from outside sources.

“That’s how the Secretary-General should work—to make the information relevant and not just technical,” Ian explains. “How would the [students] understand this information in an e-mail, especially if it concerns them?”

Being Department Chair for External Affairs exposed Ian to administrative work, which shaped his perspective when it comes to the Sanggunian.  Upon his appointment to the position, he immediately started work on the Ateneo Task Force (ATF) 2010. He says without hesitation that it was the project that he gave the most effort to, since the work he did was usually put into the hands of juniors or seniors.

Talagang binabad kami (we were really immersed into it),” Ian says. Apart from the ATF, he cites Ondoy, elections itself, and other social issues that happened inside and outside Ateneo that helped build up his experience. “All these things showed me that you can do so much more if you [get involved] maybe a little bit earlier.”

Ian begins talking about the line-up for the elections, where there is not one, but two sophomores running for Top 4 positions. For him, it’s about continuing the learning and preparing for the future as well.

“Maybe in my fourth year I’ll be able to assess the things I’ve learned from the past three years,” he muses. “Then I’ll be able to say, ‘I’ve gone through three years in the Sanggunian, and I can still offer something more.’”

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Patrice 4

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