SC ELECTIONS REPORT: Sec Gen candidates clarify issues on muddled platforms, unfulfilled promises during MDA 2019

Third year Reine Gustilo went against Incumbent 1st Year Batch Representative Carlos Recto for the Secretary General post in the Ateneo Law Student Council (SC) and were both grappled hot from the grill during the Miting De Avance, April 25.

Determined to win, both answered sizzling questions from the panelists for not less than 30 minutes—the longest among their co-candidates— and tackled numerous questions coming from the audience. The panelists were Rob Escalante, SC President, Mav Abata, Commission on Elections and Judicial Appointments Chair and the Editor-In-Chief of The Palladium, Danica Evangelista.

Coming from numerous work experiences in and out of the school, Gustilo likewise promised platforms that were beyond the jurisdiction of the Secretary General position, according to the panelists.

Gustilo responded that on the surface, it looked like her projects were out of jurisdiction, but its essence anchored on the basic responsibilities of the Secretary General. Her mental health advocacy, for instance, was connected to the responsibilities on promotions.

“Why not go above and beyond? What is so wrong if you go above and beyond your duties especially if it’s serving the student council,” Gustilo responded.

Gustilo’s platforms were further scrutinized by the audience especially on her #MeToo project which dealt with providing soap and tissue paper not only in the ladies’ CR but in the men’s as well.

Rica Valle, incumbent External Vice President and member of the Ateneo Human Rights Center Urduja Desk, pointed out during the open forum that Gustilo’s use of #MeToo might have consequences which were unforeseen by the candidate as the hashtag stands for a significant movement that advocates women’s rights against sexual abuse.

Gustilo replied that she did not intend to offend anyone with the use of the #MeToo hashtag. “I used it quite literally. At the end of the day, it was in relation to toiletries wherein bath and soap and tissue is always related to women and that #MeToo is actually equalizing the genders so to clarify again, I used it literally not to offend anyone.”

Recto, on the other hand, dealt on controversies regarding his failure to fulfill a number of his campaign promises.

“I admit that there were shortcomings. Back then, I didn’t know the full responsibility of the batch representative which is to represent the batch well. I know that I was able to represent my batch well. The most important thing is to learn from that mistake and that is to be of service; to give each student the service they deserve,” Recto said.

Moreover, a member of the audience threw in a question clarifying Recto’s facebook post captioned a “united batch 2022” but only showed beadles of Blocks 1A, 1C, 1E and 1F. This post was a support campaign for Recto and Shik Castillo, a candidate for 2nd Year Batch Representative.

Recto admitted the mistake, telling that all the beadles were tapped for the shoot. However, Claudia Tuaño, beadle of 1B stated in response that she was not tapped at all.

In this instance, Recto was further probed on the alleged miscommunication despite one of the duties of the Secretary General was to disseminate information. The audience member asked how the case reflect on his bid as the Secretary General.

“First and foremost, I would like to send my deepest apologies on behalf of my campaign team, as well as myself if there was a misunderstanding on our part. As for me being the Secretary General, I can assure you that just like what I did in my batch, we will send the information accurately and timely,” Recto responded.

The Secretary General position is one of the two contested positions in this year’s student council elections, with the 2nd year Batch Representative being the other one. The elections will be on May 2.

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