130 presidential hopefuls expected to be trimmed down
A light drizzle as the clock struck 5 p.m. on Friday punctuated the festive five-day filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) at the main offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Intramuros, Manila.
”Overall, the outcome preserved the fiesta atmosphere … hopefully it continues the process. Mas maayos ang pag-file kesa nakalipas na halalan [this year’s filing period was more orderly than last year’s],” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista told reporters in a briefing held shortly after security personnel closed the entrance gates of the Palacio del Governador where the Comelec is housed.
During the week-long period, the Comelec received COC applications from 130 individuals who want to run for President, 19 for Vice President and 172 for senators.
More than 190 groups have also filed for the party-list elections.
The Comelec is expected to purge the candidates’ list and weed out the so-called nuisance candidates before the poll body proceeds with the printing of the ballots.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said accepting COCs did not mean the applicants were already candidates.
”Comelec will weigh if they have the capacity to run. The Comelec may not approve their COCs,” he added.
Over a hundred supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, joined by scores of supporters of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano who had filed his COC for Vice President, waited outside the Palacio del Governador, hoping to catch a glimpse of the feisty mayor who was reported to be heading for the Comelec main offices to file his COC for President.
Former North Cotabato governor Manny Piñol told The Manila Times that Duterte was already in Manila.
“We’re optimistic that he’ll heed the call of the people that’s why we’re here,” former Quezon City Rep. Dante Liban, told the Times. Liban has filed his COC for senator purportedly under Duterte’s ticket.
The mayor, who had repeatedly said he is not running for President, did not show up.
Minus Duterte, next year’s presidential contest is shaping into a four-cornered fight with pre-election survey leaders Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay slugging it out with administration-backed candidate Manuel Roxas 2nd and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
A total of 48 individuals filed their COC for President on the last day of the filing period.
Santiago, who announced her intention to join the presidential race last Tuesday was the 105th to file a COC for President. She arrived at the Comelec around 2 p.m.
The senator, who had announced that she was already cured of lung cancer, is running for the presidency a third time. She placed second to President Fidel V. Ramos in 1992 and was 4th in a field of 10 candidates in 1998.
She earlier announced she will be running with Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as her vice presidential running mate.
Marcos has not categorically confirmed his team-up with Santiago, but said his and her
camps have held talks about the possibility.
Former ambassador and now OFW Family party-list Rep. Roy Señeres also filed his COC for President on Friday. He and his running mate, Bishop Ted Malangen of the Jesus
Christ the Deliverer Church, are running under the Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka.
Señeres said he has already drafted his first executive order if ever he wins the presidency.
Former Quezon City barangay captain Martin Diño, chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), was the last to file a COC for President.
It was widely speculated that Diño filed his candidacy to enable Duterte to still get a chance to join the race via substitution.
Duterte is a member of PDP-Laban. The last day for the filing of substitution is on December 10.
Comelec Chairman Bautista said under the rules, substitution can only be made by persons in the same party and “the person to be substituted has to withdraw and there has to be a new Cona or certification of nomination and acceptance by the person to be substituted.”
Vice presidential race
The vice presidential contest is also turning out to be exciting. Six incumbent legislators, six senators and a congresswoman have joined the field of 19 aspirants for the second highest position of the land.
They are Senators Gregorio Honasan (United Nationalist Alliance), Marcos Jr. (independent), Francis Joseph Escudero (independent), Antonio Trillanes 4th (independent), Allan Peter Cayetano (Nationalist People’s Coalition) and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo (Liberal Party).
Cayetano, accompanied by his wife, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, filed his COC on the last day.
A mix of veterans, neophytes and celebrities filed their COC for senator. Of the 172 aspirants, 89 filed on the last day.
Among the late filers were former Special Action Force commander Getulio Napenas, retired Major General Jovito Palparan, Maria Susana Ople, broadcaster Rey Langit, former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, actor Edu Manzano, former Tesda chief Joel Villanueva, former Akbayan party-list Rep. Walden Bello, world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel Pacquiao, former senator Richard Gordon, Manila Vice Mayor Franciso Domagoso also known as Isko Moreno, former DILG Secretary Rafael Alunan 3rd, retired general and congressman Rodrigo Gutang, comedian Amay Bisay, and retired police generals Ramon Montaño and Diosdado Valeroso.
With Ares Gutierrez, Neil Alcober and PNA