BC Reps-elect call to honor abstentions, CSEB: ‘no rules’ on abstain votes

Text by Khim Joshua Raymundo

The newly declared College of Mass Communication Student Council (CMCSC) Broadcast Communication (BC) Representatives released an online statement urging the College Student Electoral Board (CSEB) to honor the validity of the abstentions in the April 11 polls.

“Ignoring the abstain votes is going against the students’ right to choose their representatives,” BC Representative-elect Sophia Gabrielle Vizcarra said in a Facebook post.

Vizcarra called for special elections both for the two BC representatives posts and the remaining communication research representative position.

In the recent CMCSC elections, 60 abstain votes outnumbered STAND UP CMC’s bets Vizcarra and Maria Kristine Joy Adriano who only garnered 49 and 43 votes, respectively.

The CMC CSEB, however, declared Vizcarra and Adriano as the new BC representatives despite higher abstention count, stating that the college does not follow rules of the majority if abstain is the opponent.

The CSEB interpreted cases of abstaining in past years as (1) special elections shall be held recognizing abstain as a special sentiment of the voting body; and (2) abstain is a motion that waives your right to vote, a CSEB source said.  

The source, however, added there are currently no written rules on abstaining votes, based on the 2010 UP Diliman Electoral Rules which the CMC CSEB follows in absence of a localized electoral document.

A similar case happened in 2016 when the lone College of Law Representative to the USC candidate was initially declared winner despite having not enough votes to beat 340 abstentions. The University Student Electoral Tribunal (USET) later upheld the abstention after two cases were filed.

The CSEB source, meanwhile, encouraged students to file appeals soon to determine whether or not holding a special election is necessary.

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