FEU Advocate
April 22, 2024 11:31

By Kristine Anjela C. Pablo, Associate Editor

I used to make a pun of how being a Gemini has affected my decision-making, saying that I am indecisive. When I am having my lunch, my mind debates whether I should order that plump chicken burger or that sweet spaghetti. I also have a hard time deciding whether I should prioritize my sleep or continue cramming that piece of long ass paper that is due for tomorrow—simply wishing if and only if I can abstain. But throughout the trajectory of life, I realized that it is not always the option. 

Days have gone by and we were welcomed with echoes of “Handa na po ako!” and “Dalawang taon sa konseho” narratives and a plethora of promises as Far Eastern University (FEU) Elections 2024 candidates fight for the pulse of Tamaraws in attaining a seat to serve their respective institutes and academic organizations as a student-leader.

Last year, the looming question on why is there no option to abstain in the University elections prompted an anonymous member of the of the Facebook group One Piyu Community (OPC) to post an inquiry on why there is no option for such, preventing them from moving forward from the FEU Commission on Elections (COMELEC) voting tab unless they tick a specific candidate. 

This year, TAMang Boto posted their series of publication materials granting the students to abstain by leaving the voting tab blank. This now poses the students’ rights to vote based on their own will.

This is where the aspect of there is always the good and the bad comes in.  While this may affect voter turnout, there are also cases of solo candidates vying for a position. For some, a single candidate campaigns for a specific slate. 

While we do not hold the line on the reasons why this happens, may it be due to withdrawal or personal circumstances, we can be bound to a leadership where we could lobby our concerns to the administration. 

Now, the power is in our hands on how we will utilise this change. Inevitable as it is, to which side do we position ourselves? 

The importance of abstaining with our right to suffrage comes, and if we cannot practice the deed even at the university level, what more if we go beyond the green-and-gold community? 

Initiatives like TAMang Boto and COMELEC’s guidance encourage its stakeholders to use their voice, so we cannot strip away the right not to vote for a candidate that does not share the same interest or ideals.

This is a call for the academic organizations as well as its students-leaders to craft their general policies that can procure amendments that are meant for everyone. 

This is not a meeting or a letter that requires formality with quota votes being the top priority. It is our power to put individuals into positions that will serve the masses and not be burdened by such shortcomings. 

While abstention may have a different impact for the national elections, elections in the university level is a spatial framework as students have become more keen with their specific plans of action, even commenting on their pages on mechanism, budget, and how they are going to communicate with the Office of Student Development and the administration to have their projects attain feasibility. 

Now more than ever, they have been more critical. I am not surprised anymore. Tamaraws are outspoken and driven, especially at the cost of their grievances and student life. We are hampered enough by our personal affairs and summative assessments to be burdened more to deal with candidates that do not deserve that vote–may it be a single candidate or a candidate that is out of touch. 

You also cannot blame those who refused to vote if they are about to leave the University, because if you look at the environment of candidates courting you with flowery words, surely, you’ll even doubt. 

We must not put the burden on them. 

Now, being indecisive indeed is not always an option. Even at the expense of mundane things, I have learned how to think about what would benefit my well-being. 

(Photo courtesy of Mirzie Feliciano/FEU Advocate)