You are on page 1of 5

Ateneo Student Judicial Court Ateneo de Manila University - Loyola Schools Barangay Loyola Heights, Quezon City

SITTING AS THE EN BANC

IN THE MATTER OF THE EXTENSION OF THE SANGGUNIAN GENERAL ELECTIONS, CASE NO. 2014 - 001 CHIEF MAGISTRATE, ROY LAMBER GUERRA, MAGISTRATE FOR INTERNAL AFFAIRS ADMINISTRATION, LEO FRANCIS ABOT, MAGISTRATE FOR HUMAN RESOURCES, LORENZO PEPITO, MAGISTRATE FOR EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, RYAN GREGORY NICOLAS, MAGISTRATE FOR AUDIT, DANIELLE JOANNA GAITE, MAGISTRATE FOR PROJECT AND OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT, ALDWIN SEGISMUNDO

X------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------X

MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

As a constituent and concerned student of the Ateneo de Manila University, I, Andrei Kristian D. Buendia, exercising the rights afforded to me by the Magna Carta of Undergraduate Students Rights, file this motion for reconsideration of the judgment you delivered regarding the extension of the Sanggunian Elections by virtue of the following justifications: 1) The argument regarding insufficient time does not establish any causality regarding the failure of students to vote.

2) The argument regarding undue voting fatigue fails to argue why students are likely to trust the COMELEC with an extension. 3) The extension of elections allots votes to students who have already waived their right to vote. 4) The extension of elections causes students to respond to pressure as opposed to willingness to participate in the elections. These points shall be explored in the arguments to be posited.

ARGUMENTS

Regarding the validity of the two arguments presented by the petitioners: On insufficient time: The first question that must be raised as regards to this evidence presented is the time in which the evidence is submitted. If the concern of the petitioners was truly the ability of the student body to be accommodated by the voting stations, should this vital piece of information not have been submitted for consideration long before the election took place? The length of the election period has been made public for a long time and it was only upon the realization that quota will not be reached that this was carefully considered. It has long been known that, given the Ateneo student bodys history of political apathy, reaching quota is a persistent problem. Being a member of the Sanggunian as the Vice President, Mr. Yu, one of the petitioners, should have at least conducted this study prior to the election as opposed to the extension being tainted with political motives of reaching quota and locking in a position. Even assuming the validity of Mr. Cabreras study, which has yet to be validated by another study, it does not argue any causality regarding the voter turn-out. The premise that the petition established proves that it is not possible for the whole student body to be accommodated. However, this does not count the students in relation to the amount of students needed to reach quota. According to the COMELEC, quota is at 3226 votes. Given the study of Mr. Cabrera, which insists that 4.57 minutes are required to cast a vote, only 14,742.8 minutes are needed in total to reach a valid election. Mr. Cabrera concluded that the students were given 21,900 minutes to cast their votes. This shows that the COMELEC provided sufficient time to conduct their elections.

This also assumes that time is the only factor in which students chose not to vote. If one is to be realistic, this isnt the only reason. In fact, given the voter turn -out, it is more likely that students simply dont vote because they dont want to. Moreover, the only way the time sufficiency argument would also be grounded into reality is if there was public clamor for an extension. In that case, the petitioners were not the proper parties to file this petition given their vested political interest.

On the issue of undue voter fatigue: Given that this was the heavily credited argument, I shall engage it on two levels: 1) The argument is purely speculative. The idea that students would disenfranchised due to constant system errors is at best one of the reasons as to why students are discouraged from participating. More than it being speculative, the extension of the elections does not resolve the issue of disenfranchisement. Given that the COMELEC also failed to release a statement explaining the technical issues and failed to provide any proof as to why the system error had already been fixed. Even COMELEC officials present in the OPS Office in the morning of February 20 have admitted to the programming team refusing to release a statement detailing the events leading up to the error and the fixes employed in order to address the issue. 2) As introduced earlier, there was no justification given as regards to how an extension makes students trust a system that was the same system that spread the undue fatigue and disenfranchisement that the petitioners argued. Given the constant errors of the COMELEC, it is reasonable to believe that an election held by the same group of people with the same program will still cause the same distrust that the petitioners insist upon arguing.

Undue expansion of the pool of voters who can access the extended election: The extension of the election was made open to all the courses affected by the system error. The courses are as follows: AB-MA POS AB ChnS-B AB ChnS-H AB ChnS-S AB Dip IR AB LIT(ENG) AB LIT(FIL) AB PH (PREDIV) AB POS-MPM BS APS-ACS BS APS-I TRACK BS APS-MSE BS CH-ACS

BS CH-MSE BS COMTECH

BS LfSci BS MGT-H

BSMIS-MSCS BS PS-MSE

Conceding that those whose votes were discarded due to the systems failure, what must be considered is that not all of the members of these respective courses did not exercise their right to vote. The extension of the election suddenly gave people who already waived their right to vote, by virtue of non-participation in the original period of election, a renewed right to vote. This is unethical in the sense that when an individual abstains from voting, they are not allowed to change their vote. If a voter initially elected Voter A, they cannot spontaneously switch to voting Voter B when their votes have been cast. The proper way the extended elections should have been conducted is to have maintained a list of voters whose votes were discarded and only allowed those students from these 19 blocks to vote. This would have been the only fair way given that we cannot fault these students for the error. Admittedly, we will never be able to check whether or not these students switched their votes, however, they must be entitled to a counted vote. The rest of the students, who initially did not express interest in voting, have already waived their right to vote and should not be given the privilege to do so once again.

Response to pressure vs. Response to will In the same way that the petitioners submitted the speculative argument of disenfranchisement, there is also the possibility that voters would respond to the election because of pressure as opposed to the active will to vote and participate. Democracy has never been about imposing participation. This is the very reason we are allowed to abstain or are not criminalized in the event that we do not vote. It is an individuals judgment to make if he or she will vote. In not voting, the student may believe that there is not much that a student government can do for him or her. In not voting, the student may just believe that none of the candidates running are deserving of the position they are trying to close in on. Democracy has always been about respecting individual choices. In fact, the approach of the candidates as to how they encourage voters has drastically changed from the initial week of election to the present. There has been a shift in the sense that there is pressure by advocating the urgent need for a Sanggunian. While it is a valid belief that there is an urgent need for a Sanggunian, it is not for this reason that students should wish to vote. Ideally, students should exercise the right to vote because they recognize the value of that individual right to vote. The vote in itself has to be an end to their political

participation as opposed to a means to an end. This is because your vote does not assure that you will get your desired results. In living in a community, it has to be realized that an act cannot have an immediate end and this is why the act in itself has to have an end, already.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, in the interest of higher justice and democracy, it is respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court that its Decision dated 20 February 2014, be reconsidered and reevaluated in terms of scope and ethicality. It is also prayed that a Temporary Restraining Order on the Extension being held in the present be issued until further discussion regarding the matter is held. Other reliefs and remedies such as a repeat of the elections with manual ballots (given the distrust caused by undue fatigue), reopening of applications for candidacy (given the evident lack of interest in supporting them) as may be just and reasonable under the established premises are also prayed for.

Quezon City, 20 February 2014

Submitted with concern by:

ANDREI KRISTIAN D. BUENDIA II AB MA Political Science, Major in Global Politics andreibuendia@gmail.com