The candidates of Aksyon Alyansa Letranista (AAL) as they watched and listened to the final and confirmed results of the elections. Photo courtesy of Eduardo Nollora Jr. of The LANCE.
The Letran Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announces a “failure of elections” after receiving a higher abstain count on the three executive positions - president, secretary, and public relations officers (PRO) - on Wednesday afternoon, March 29, 2023.
The official proclamation of results was held onsite at the Del Pilar Hall and was live-streamed on Letran COMELEC’s Facebook page.
Aksyon Alyansa Letranista’s (AAL) prime mover, third-year AB Communications student Mary Louise Cabantoc, earned 599 votes or 39.49%, but 919 or 60.58% of students abstained.
AAL’s running secretary, Christine Llavore, received 651 votes or 42.91% and 867 or 57.15% abstentions. PRO candidate Yuan Gabriel Pabalan got 629 votes or 41.40 %, with 890 or 58.67% abstentions.
Meanwhile, AAL still tries to fortify their slate in the victories of Economics Senator Alecks Gian Gallardo, with 30 votes and 6 abstentions, Operations Management Senator Jian Iglesia, with 48 votes and 9 abstentions, Advertising Senator Lee Adrienne Ruzol, with 17 votes and no abstention, and lastly, Kodi Nicole Cabacang accumulated 115 votes or 55.02%, and 23, or 11% abstentions in the Psychology Department.
Letran COMELEC Chairwoman, Stephanie Garcia stated that in the three years of her stay in the Colegio, she never witnessed abstention prevailing over the candidate's total votes.
"As a member of the commission this year, I believe students were able to carefully consider every candidate vying for their particular positions in the election. With unexpected results unfolding, I also believe that students are becoming more politically conscious. As a result, they are becoming more interested in candidates that can ensure positive outcomes for the student body," Garcia said in an interview.
Abstention: Its Influence and Aftermath
With the executive positions in the council vacant, outgoing officers interpret the predominance of restraint as evidence the students are evolving into responsible citizens.
Outgoing Letran Student Council (LSC) Vice President Rexel Miralles claimed the Letran Freedom Wall (LFW) contributed to whether students decided to support the candidates or not since the submissions are anonymous.
He also emphasized that this year's election results may also be influenced by the absence of an opponent, given that it has been difficult for the candidates to come up with new strategies for winning over the support of the entire student population.
“Even though they had a better opportunity to persuade students to vote for them because elections were now conducted in person, it cannot be denied that the time frame given was quite short, and the campaign period being set in the middle of midterm examination week bears no benefit for the candidates,” said Miralles.
He added that the disadvantage of a failed election warrants struggles for students to stand up and lead.
Additionally, Aksyon Alyansa Letranista posted an official statement via its Facebook page, stating that it accepts the results of the elections and that its party will regroup and reflect on its platforms, issues, and projects that led to its downfall.
As per the Election Code 2022, in case abstain votes prevail or plurality is not achieved, a call for a special election will take place.
This year's voter participation for the LSC elections was 1,518 out of 2,530 or 60%, down from last year's 80%.