The imposition of martial law in 1972 suspended the annual establishment of the CPU Republic. The purpose in which the student republic was created in 1906, to educate the Filipino people in the democratic form of government, was temporarily disturbed as the clout of martial rule curtailed the liberties of the Filipino people.
When martial law was lifted in 1981, there were immediate moves to revive the oldest student republic in the country. The Student Organization Committee (SOC) announced the revival of the CPUR. The SOC encouraged the students to organize themselves into parties and have their parties accredited.
In answer to the SOC’s bidding, three parties applied and were recognized. They were the PANGMASA, Alliance of Democratic Students (ADS), and the United Students Party (USP).
In preparation for election, President Pulido together with the SOC gathered the student representatives from participating parties. The meeting paved way for the revision of the pre-martial law CPUR constitution.
The group adapted it for election purposes only. Here, the constitution was transitory in nature because the group agreed that the adapted constitution should be used until the elected CPUR officials could facilitate a duly ratified constitution.
The history of the revived CPUR could be divided chronologically in three regimes.
The PANGMASA party, which ruled from 1982-1984; the Koalisyon party in 1984-1987; and the Independents/Student Independent Democratic Party (SIDP) in 1987-1990.
The PANGMASA Administration (1982-1984)
The first president of the revived CPUR was an engineering student named Gerardo Sonalan of the PANGMASA party. His administration was strongly supported by the engineering student leaders. His administration could be considered as very militant because it immediately provided a venue for student sentiments on various national issues.
It was during his time when the Central Echo, the official student paper of CPU was revived. Four senators led by Senator Vitini Edhard Idemne (USP) pushed for the revival of the Central Echo. Sonalan tried to assert for an autonomous Central Echo but the group agreed to the guidelines that there will be advisorship by the administration.
The next PANGMASA president was Gualberto Cataluña, a law student. He finished an engineering baccalaureate degree in CPU also. His candidacy could be considered controversial because of the issue on grade requirement.
The SOC requires a 2.0 average grade for every student who files his/her candidacy. However, Cataluña whose grades fell below 2.0 appealed directly to President Pulido for reconsideration. The administration overruled the SOC’s decision to uphold 2.0 grade requirement. The decision allowed Cataluña to proceed with his bid for the CPUR presidency.
This decision resulted into the resignation of some SOC members. The other parties, ADS and USP did not react strongly on this issue as observed by SOC member (later Chairperson) Dr. Johnny Gumban.
During his term, Cataluña was able to provide benches in several areas in the campus. Concrete benches bearing the inscription CPUR 1983-84 could still be seen along half-moon drive, central and acacia roads, and University Church drive.
(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.