The KOALISYON Administration (1982-1984)
As the next school year 1984-85 opened, the CPUR witnessed an event which was the first ever in the CPU Republic’s history—two parties coalesced to form a new party. The PANGMASA and the Alliance of Democratic Students joined and the party Koalisyon ng Demokratikong Mag-aaral para sa Sambayana emerged.
As described by Sherlito Deduro (Vice President 1984-85) in his article, “Koalisyon ng Demokratikong Mag-aaral para sa Sambayanan”, the moderation and militancy which characterized ADS and PANGMASA, respectively became the weapons of the KOALISYONin answer to the chaos which characterized the national government.
On the other hand, student political observers interpreted that one reason for the ADS-PANGMASA union was that the two parties felt weak against USP standard bearer Vitini Idemne who was the No. 1 senator in the previous year.
Having given no hand in the decision-making process, the ADS-PANGMASA coalition resulted into the division of the high school ADS leaders. Some were recruited by the USP while other went to the KOALISYON.
The split of the high school ADS was significant for they were the batch of leaders who became strong contenders for higher CPUR positions under their respective parties in their college years.
Among these leaders were Rico Plotria and Val Salido, who became a KOALISYON and USP, respectively. They later reunited in 1987 to lead the group of independents to a landslide victory.
The De la Fuente Administration
Perhaps the time when CPUR became the most active student government in Iloilo was during the presidency of Manuel de la Fuente (KOALISYON). Mr. De la Fuente was a student of the College of Theology.
It was the height of student demonstration against the Marcos regime and campus affairs focused mainly on national issues. It was the period when the legislative and the executive often met jointly and the active participation of the adviser, Atty. Jane Harder was observed.
The de la Fuente Administration’s general program of action of “sponsoring symposia, for dialogues, workshops, and other forms of discussion on critical issues” gave both the students and the Administration a very unforgettable year.
The accomplishments of the de la Fuente administration were the revival of Central Echo, which publication stopped for one semester. Their demand to purchase a good quality public address system was granted by the Administration.
Other accomplishments are as follows: readjustment of the sixth gate’s schedule for the students’ convenience, the creation of the student organization federation, and the adjustment in the hourly rate of the work student in proportion with the tuition fee increase.
Glenn Campañera, an engineering student headed the CPUR in SY 1985-86. A reticent type and very reserve person, Campañera was in a way opposite to de la Fuente’s personality.
Although for the succeeding years the Koalisyon party had succeeded in getting the top leadership, the USP had the majority of the legislative department. At this period, the CPUR had become a field of heated arguments and walkouts due to party interests.
This created prejudices between the Koalisyon and USP elected officials. The USP, which dominated the legislation branch, would not approve legislation by the Koalisyon and later, the USP dominated legislative will pass legislation with almost the same idea or provision authored by the USP.
The Campañera administration
It was during Campañera’s incumbency when the “Constitution” issue emerged. The congress had already approved a draft constitution. Immediately, ratification procedures followed.
Campañera being the chief executive facilitated the ratification in which the “yes” votes for the constitution won. However, the CPUR president did not approve the ratification. He passed a declaration, which stated that the constitution was not validly ratified.
One of the reasons was the low percentage of votes. The USP members in the CPUR headed by Senator Felice Garingalao, who was the Chairperson of the Constitutional Commission were not amenable to Campañera’s move.
The Upper House subjected the CPUR President’s decision into several debates. Protest was filed with the SOC. The complaint was deliberated until the next school year 1986-87.
Whether or not Campañera’s move was a political maneuver (as top level USP officials thought), being the president, he has the power to veto any legislative initiative with valid grounds. However, the USP leaders claimed that Campañera’s move was to prevent the USP from crediting to their accomplishments the “duly ratified” constitution.
The Campañera administration was able to conduct routine CPUR activities such as during the University Day, CPUR sponsored shows and symposiums.
The Baldago administration
Because of the “Constitution” issue, the USP boycotted the SY 1986-87 election and thus, Roosevelt Baldago of the college of commerce came out victorious with the rest of the Koalisyon candidate running unchallenged.
Koalisyon described the boycott option by the USP candidates as a “political suicide”. This was proven true for in succeeding y ears, the USP never recovered and was lost in the CPUR political arena.
Baldago’s one party administration was expected by most students to perform well because all officers of CPUR were Koalisyon party members. CPUR activities focused mainly on routine activities such as during University Days, CPUR sponsored shows and others. The students’ hope for a wholesome CPUR year did not materialize. The idealism of Koalisyon party failed to be manifested in a one-party administration.
Indeed, student activism, which was observed during the De la Fuente administration, waned. This could be attributed to the change in the political climate of the national government. School year 1986-87 was the year when the EDSA revolution occurred and the air of freedom it brought was very fresh in every student’s mind.
(TO BE CONTINUED…)
Source: Jonan Castillon, “The History of the Revived CPUR and the Emergence of the Student Independent Democratic Party,” Central Echo Summer 1999.