The jury is still out on how his name will be etched in Philippine political history, but the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has already decided to declare him a “nuisance” for putting the “election process in mockery or disrepute.”
Rizalito David—a radio commentator who was the first to formally question Sen. Grace Poe’s qualification to sit in the Senate and vie for the highest elective position of the land—was among the over a hundred presidential aspirants whose names were taken out of the official candidates’ list for next year’s elections.
David said he will appeal the Comelec Second Division’s ruling with the Comelec en banc and, if necessary, up to the Supreme Court.
A total of 130 individuals filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) for President, 19 for Vice President and 172 for senators.
David’s candidacy was among those questioned by the Comelec law department.
Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code allows cancelation of the COC of candidates if it is shown that the certificate was filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute, among other acts, which demonstrates that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the COC had been filed.
David gained prominence after he sought to nullify Poe’s victory in the 2013 before the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
In a quo warranto petition, he claimed that Poe failed to meet the constitutional requirements on citizenship and residency.
He also used the same argument in petitioning the Comelec to disqualify Poe from running for President in the 2016 elections.
David said for being a foundling with no known biological Filipino parents, Poe could not lay claim to being a natural-born citizen.
The tribunal had ruled 5-4 dismissing his petition while the Comelec Second Division has ruled to cancel Poe’s COC after deciding on a similar complaint filed by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.
Both cases are under appeal.
Poe, who led in previous pre-election surveys, is facing five disqualification cases.
David’s disqualification was handled by the same division that ruled on Elamparo’s complaint.
In a resolution, the Second Division, headed by Commissioner Al Parreno with Commissioners Arthur Lim and Sheriff Abas as members, found merits on the arguments of the law department’s petition that David “has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the COC has been filed, and thus prevent a faithful determination of the true will of the electorate.”
The Second Division also declared that David has no financial capability to bankroll a nationwide campaign.
The resolution pointed out while David submitted copies of endorsements and names of individuals and organizations purportedly supportive of his presidential bid, they failed to persuade the Comelec that he is a serious candidate.
The Second Division gave weight to the statement of Kapatiran Party president Norman V. Cabrera denying that they have nominated David as the party’s standard-bearer.
David, in is verified answer, also argued that there is no truth to the allegation that he is making a mockery of the electoral process, saying he lawfully and religiously complied with all the requirements needed by law to prove his intention and interest to run for President.
But the Comelec Second Division said it found the petition meritorious and thus, respondent must be declared as a nuisance candidate and his COC canceled.