Straw Poll Controversy: Fact-finding committee formed

by Rex Godinez Ortega

THE CHANCELLOR of the Institute, Dr. Marcelo P. Salazar, formed a fact-finding committee on October 15, 2010 to investigate alleged irregularities in the canvassing of votes for the VCAA straw polls.

The creation of the fact-finding committee was prompted by a letter from the head of the VCAA Search Committee, Dr. Olga M. Nuñeza, who “strongly recommended” that Institute authorities look into the controversy as it had the potential to damage reputations, as well as the image of the Institute.

Dr. Brigida A. Roscom, Vice Chancellor for Planning and Development, was appointed chair of the fact-finding committee with Atty. Edgar Allan Donasco as co-chair.

Atty. Felicidad C. Gadiano, acting HRM Head; Prof. Phyllis Marie Teanco, Senior Special Assistant on Legal Matters; Prof. Jeremy V. Pinzon, MSUAA-IIT Chapter President; and Mr. Dominico B. Jumawid, Jr., ANTEU Representative make up the committee’s members.

The fact-finding committee has been given until October 29, 2010 to wrap up its investigation and submit its findings and recommendations to the Chancellor.

Speculations of irregularities began after the results of the canvassing of votes conducted by the board of canvassers, headed by Prof. Geoffrey Salgado, on October 6, 2010 became public.

Dr. Nuñeza, however, said she had not officially released the results of the canvass as she was on travel during this period.

The unofficial results showed Dr. Jerson Orejudos, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, as the landslide winner garnering a total of 242 votes.

Orejudos’ votes were twice the total number of votes (111) earned by his closest rival in the polls, Dr. Feliciano Alagao, dean of the College of Engineering.

Dr. Rhodora S.N. Englis, Campus Secretary, came in third with 84 votes.

Below are the results of the October 6 canvassing of votes:

CandidateFacultyStaffStudentsTotal Votes
Dr. Feliciano B. Alagao633117111
Dr. Jerson N. Orejudos227411242 (#1)
Dr. Rhodora S.N. Englis31102364

Search Committee head, Dr. Nuñeza, said that when she arrived on October 11, she heard about complaints regarding the results and the request for a recount by one of the candidates. She said she decided upon the recount after Prof. Salgado, the head of the board of canvassers, also suggested the same.

Nuñeza said she thought it was best to confirm the results first before releasing them officially.

It was after this recount was conducted on October 13 that the whole situation erupted into a full-blown controversy.

The results of this recount had Dr. Alagao winning with 175 votes. Dr. Orejudos got 127 votes, while Dr. Englis garnered 115 votes.

These results were the ones the VCAA Search Committee officially released to the Institute community.

CandidateFacultyStaffStudentsTotal Votes
Dr. Feliciano B. Alagao1292917175 (#1)
Dr. Jerson N. Orejudos111511127
Dr. Rhodora S.N. Englis811123115

The shocking results of the recount prompted Nuñeza to order another recount to be made just to confirm the results. The second recount, which was conducted just 20 to 30 minutes after the first recount produced the same results – Alagao, 175; Orejudos, 127; Englis, 115.

Nuñeza said that the irreconcilable results of the October 6 canvassing of votes and the October 13 recount was impossible to attribute to an honest mistake in the counting.

“This huge difference in the results of the two canvassing of votes could not be attributed to human error, but to something else,” she said.

Topics : controversy