The Reign of the Independents/SIDP (1987-1990)
The decision to boycott the school year 1986-87 election created disillusionment to some members of the USP. According to them, they were not consulted about the party’s decision. They said that only top USP officials made the decision whose pride in the “Constitution” issue was affected.
Meanwhile, some idealistic members of the Koalisyon were becoming restless because of the party’s failure to implement programs, which would make leadership impression to the studentry.
The polarization of the CPUR between USP and Koalisyon which deviated the CPUR from a real pro-student government, the failure of both parties to work in unity prompted other leaders both members and non-members of the two political parties to search for an alternative.
Right after the election in 1986, Val Salido, consistent honor student in the College of Engineering was challed by a classmate to make initial plans to organize an alternative group.
Salido was a former CPUR senator (USP) in 1984. He and the classmate discussed their visions of a true pro-student CPUR. They plotted palns for the SY 1987-88 CPUR election.
Immediately, the thought of forming a new party emerged. However, the two realized that forming a party would not be a good solution because they perceived that the students might have negative impressions on political parties based on the present party polarization in the CPUR.
Later, Val Salido, Ryan Comuelo, a high school classmate; and the engineering student leader conceived the idea that instead of forming a party, candidates for all positions would be recruited. They will be instructed to file their candidacy as independents.
This concept was later echoed to Rico Plotria, a classmate in college and in high school. Plotria was a popular leader in the College of Engineering. At that time, the Koalisyon as their next presidential bet was eyeing Rico Plotria.
In SY 1987-88, while the “independent concept” was silently being worked out by Salido, Plotria and their supporters, another group under the leadership of Roy Fajutrao, Jojie Roy Juarez, and David Mark Dominado who incidentally were high school classmates of Salido and Plotria, organize a party.
John Roldan, a fifth year EE student and the chairperson of the Work Student Organization became the standard bearer of this party known as the New Student Alliance. (NSA later became the Democratic Student Alliance).
Meanwhile, Koalisyon, the ruling party was preparing for the year’s election and with hopes to again capture the presidency. However, the party’s popularity was at the ebb because most of the students were dissatisfied with the current CPUR leadership.
The students’ cry for a change in leadership was proven true when at the prelude of the election Koalisyon could not come up with a strong national and provincial line-up of candidates. Some of their leaders in the colleges who were Salido and Plotria’s batch in high school and whom they were counting on to recruit candidates defect to the Independents.
In the college of engineering, the Phi Beta Epsilon Fraternity, which was a PANGMASA and later Koalisyon’s avid follower, shifted its loyalty to the Independent’s cause. Val Salido is a member of the fraternity.
To further strengthen the independent support in the college of engineering, Salido forged union with the Gamma Rho Upsilon, also an engineering-based fraternity. In due time, Koalisyon’s machinery broke down with College of Theology as the only supporting college left.
As the deadline for application of candidacy drew nearer, the remnants of loyal USP leaders made a last effort to establish their presence and participation in the election by circulating printed statemen, “encouraging all USP candidates to run as independents”. However, Amparo Barroma, another high school classmate of Salido and Plotria refrained from distributing such classmates as it would affect the “independent” stand of the group.
The slogan of the independent candidates was “I am Independent! I am free to serve!”. In the election, all “Independent” candidates, except a candidate for representative in high school won the election.
Thus, for the first time in history of the CPU Republic a landslide victory was achieved not by a party but by a group of Independent candidates.
READ WHAT THE INDEPENDENTS ACHIEVED IN A YEAR’S TIME… (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.