THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday started the process of determination and elimination of “nuisance” candidates, including 125 individuals who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) for President.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said notices have been sent out by the Clerk of the Commission to some candidates for President, Vice President and senator, directing them to appear on a specific date and time for submission of documents and other proofs that would prove their capacity to wage a national campaign.
“We have not declared anybody as nuisance [yet],” Bautista clarified. “The letter [only]asked them to explain their capability, practical capability [to launch a serious national campaign], Bautista pointed out.
The poll body had sent a letter to each candidate, asking them if they can mount such campaign.
Bautista cited as an example the Supreme Court (SC) decision on the [Ely] Pamatong versus Comelec case wherein the High Court centered on practical realities when one wages a national campaign.
The Comelec spokesman, Director James Jimenez, disclosed that as of Monday, 45 aspiring candidates who had been summoned by the poll body showed up.
Jimenez said those who did not appear forfeited their chance to explain and prove that they were not making a mockery of the election process.
“There are some who appeared and some did not. The effect [of non-appearance]is that
the case filed against them [by the Comelec law deaprtment]would be deemed submitted for resolution. A decision would be handed out even if they did not appear,” he explained.
According to Jimenez, the final list of official candidates would be completed by December 10, also the last day for the filing of substitute candidates by Comelec-accredited political parties.
Senior Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said the determination of “nuisance” candidates depends on a number of issues, which are contained in the summons sent by the Clerk of the Commission.
“They are asked to present evidence [on why they should not be declared a nuisance candidate]. The [Comelec law department] decides on each and every petition. The [department]will prepare the petition and the [commission]en banc will evaluate,” Lim explained.
A total of 130 personalities filed their COC for President, among them Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas 2nd , Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), Sen. Grace Poe and Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, all shoo-ins on the official list candidates for President.
It was reported that the fifth official candidate for President is party-list Rep. Roy Seneres, who earlier confirmed that he had not been summoned by the Comelec.
For Vice President, 19 had filed their COC but only six are deemed to make it to the official list, namely: Sen. Gregorio Honasan (UNA), Rep. Leni Robredo (LP), Sen. Francis Escudero (Independent), Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Independent), Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th (Independent) and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano (Independent).
On the other hand, there were 172 aspirants for senator, but no more than 60 could make it to the official list.
Under Batas Pambansa (BP) 881 or the Omnibus Election Code, the Comelec has the authority to deny due course or reject the candidacy of persons who file to make a mockery of the election system, those who file to confuse voters through use of names similar to those of other well-known candidates, those with no intention of actually running for office.
Article IX, Section 69 of BP 881 states, “The commission may motu propio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy it if is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the certificate of candidacy has been filed and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.”