(As part of TNP’s election coverage and participation in Halalan sa Diliman, we are reposting articles published last year that analyzed the outcome of last year’s election results-Ed)

By Andrew Jonathan Bagaoisan.
Originally published on March 10, 2009

A yellow-led, evenly-colored University Student Council was the top story of the 2009 elections, next to the campus-wide computerized voting system.

Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan (KAISA) last Feb. 25 scored an upset by gaining the chairperson and ten other USC seats, neutralizing the power shared for two years by long-time parties Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND-UP) and Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran (ALYANSA).

It was evidently a turning point for UP party politics, KAISA taking councilor seats from the 13-year-old STAND-UP and winning back college representative posts mainly from the nine-year-old ALYANSA.

A scrutiny of the council’s makeup from 2006, KAISA’s first year in politics, shows that UP Diliman students voted fewer STAND-UP and ALYANSA bets into the council and more from KAISA.

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KAISA attributed their win this year to an “intense” campaign, an “ideal” message, and “the best” messengers.

Officers from the other two, however, blamed the victory of personality politics over ideology or platform-based voting.

Yellow power

The yellow party gained more seats in the council through its college representatives.

Holding on to its bailiwicks, the party also struck a win in Architecture, previously STAND-UP country.

Meanwhile, KAISA’s no-show among the councilors since 2007 ended this year as three candidates took the last seats. Their landmark win was Titus Tan as chair.

Former KAISA party head Abdel Jamal Disangcopan said this “much higher vote of confidence” resulted from their candidates’ efforts to campaign even in other parties’ turfs.

Disangcopan said that on the side, their party had the “most ideal message” but explained it “without leaving the audience disconnected.”

“We (also) had the best candidates this year. They articulated the message well all throughout the campaign,” he adds.

Red recedes

STAND-UP secretary-general Marian Kris Santos, who didn’t win USC councilor, ascribed their party’s losses to decentralized party machinery.

“We didn’t see at once that our narrowest competitor would be Titus and not Niña (Acasio of ALYANSA),” she said. “Or KAISA and not ALYANSA.”

STAND-UP’s surprise this election was the 1,500-plus-vote defeat of standard bearer Airah Cadiogan to Tan, whom she beat last year for vice chair by a two-digit margin.

STAND-UP, which held the majority until last year, had one less council official every year since 2006. The party had nonetheless held at least a top leadership post that time.

KAISA regularly visited the College of Mass Communication, which largely votes red to the USC. Cadiogan, a Communication Research major, won here, but only by 30-plus votes.

While other known STAND-UP colleges still voted red, they didn’t deliver as many votes as bigger colleges with bigger turnouts that rooted for Tan.

Most students had voted this year based on personality rather than by party, Santos added.

It would be a challenge for the incoming council, she said, to unite for the students and the people.

Blue’s clues

Marian Panganiban of ALYANSA, who also lost to Cadiogan as vice chair last year, agreed that candidates boosted KAISA’s upset.

Being a young party, KAISA had little track record to base votes on, Panganiban says. Instead they had bets with “attractive personalities and background.”

ALYANSA’s numbers in the USC decreased with the college reps—two went to KAISA, one to Stand-UP.

Tan also won in ALYANSA colleges. Even the College of Engineering, where Acasio won USC representative in 2006, gave Tan more than a thousand votes.

It’s not that Acasio had fewer credentials, Panganiban said. While the two had comparable records, Tan had the benefit of recent recall, having run last year, and running alone.

An evenly-divided council, Panganiban said, would challenge itself to still act on behalf of the students. The difference would only be judged later.

“Since we have no precedent of KAISA holding the (top) position(s), that is something we have yet to see.”

(With reports from Mark  Anthony Gubagaras, Rachel Miranda and Mark Pere Madrona)


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