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UST rejects student candidates who aired martial law views

Photo by Kila Adame on Flickr/CC BY

MANILA, Philippines — Following the controversial responses on martial law made by candidates, students of the University of Santo Tomas rejected four out of six posts in their central student elections last April 22.

It was revealed during the proclamation of election winners that abstentions outnumbered the votes earned by the president, vice president, treasurer and auditor.

Based on the results posted by the UST Central Commission on Elections, candidates for president and vice president, lost to 15,803 and 13,169 abstentions, respectively.

For the positions of treasure and auditor, "abstain" votes dominated with 13,088 and 13,329.

Positions of secretary and public relations officer, meanwhile, were filled by two independent aspirants.

Views on martial law

Before the elections, the aspiring student leaders faced criticism over responses they made to a question about martial law during a debate aired by the university's broadcast network.

Vice presidential bets Gabriela Sepulchre of the Lakas Tomasino Coalition and Renz Santiago of Lakas Diwa were asked how the council should respond in case President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law.

Sepulchre, a College of Rehabilitation Sciences student, said the student council would spread awareness of what martial law is, claiming people often take the concept negatively but it is a policy they should not be afraid of.

"Ang isang martial law ay hindi ipinapatupad nang basta-basta lang. Pinag-iisipan ito, pinaguusapan ito sa senado, sa kongreso, at 'yun ang kailangang malaman ng mga estudyante, na hindi sila dapat matakot sa martial law [na] hindi porke't naging masama 'yung pamamalakad ni Marcos dati, ay gan'on na rin ang tingin natin sa martial law ngayon," she added.

Her rival, Santiago, meanwhile, argued that the council should first research about martial law.

"Ang unang kailangang gawin ng CSC is magresearch po muna ano po ba ang mayroon dito sa martial law na 'to para mas maintindihan pa po natin kasi po ito'y nangyari noong 'di pa po tayo 'pinapanganak or kakapanganak pa lang po sa atin," he said.

After their video was posted on social media, both candidates were blasted with criticisms.

As of press time, the video reached over 223,000 views and gained over 15,300 reactions and 1,500 comments.

Some viewers expressed their disappointment on Twitter over the candidates' "insensitive'" and "disappointing" responses.

Martial Law was a period in the 1970s ruled by dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the military, which led to grave human rights violations, widespread corruption and cronyism.

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