NUISANCE or not, those who decided to stand for election as President or any other elective positions should be “respected” and not mocked, because doing so is well within their constitutional right, a Malacañang official said on Thursday.
“The best way to treat the matter is to respect their right to file their candidacies because it is according to law. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will decide on them and, in the end, the Filipino people,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, 76 people have filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) for President, 15 for Vice President and 83 for senator.
Among the prominent personalities who filed their COC on the 4th day of the registration period were the tandems of Manuel Roxas 2nd and Leni Robredo and Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
Attention, however, was drawn to virtually unknown individuals who have also filed their COC and have been the subject of ridicule on social media and were immediately judged by the public as “nuisance candidates.”
Coloma explained that the Constitution allows qualified people to run for the highest office provided they possess the basic requirements such as being at least 40 and a natural-born Filipino.
“In my view, the Constitution has placed a high wall that should be hurdled by Filipinos gunning for the highest position of the land. Relatively, it is the duty of the Comelec to scrutinize thoroughly if they are able to launch [a national campaign],” the Palace official said.
“Once the Comelec has certified who are qualified, the people will have the final say as to who they should elect,” Coloma added.
Administration bets Roxas and Robredo filed their respective COC at past 9 in the morning on Thursday.
Roxas was accompanied by his wife, TV news anchor Korina Sanchez, and his mother Judy, while Robredo was with her daughters.
Before filing their COC, Roxas and Robredo attended a Mass at the adjacent Manila Cathedral with President Benigno Aquino 3rd, their families and supporters.
The President did not join Roxas and Robredo when they filed their COC.
“We thank our fellowmen for the chance to serve. We offer ourselves to the nation in our pursuit to continue with the straight path],” Roxas said in a short speech after filing his COC.
“We are going to give our best in this fight. This is a fight for our fellowmen,” he added in Filipino
Traffic virtually stood still in the immediate vicinity of Intramuros when Poe and Escudero filed their COC at 3:30 p.m.
Before their arrival at the Palacio del Governador, supporters of the two senators occupied the entire Plaza Roma.
Poe was surrounded by her supporters and secured by burly character actors and film stunt men, presumably loyal friends of her late father, action star Fernando Poe Jr., as she and Escudero entered the Comelec main office building.
She was accompanied by her mother, actress Susan Roces, while Escudero was with his wife, actress Heart Evangelista
Police and Comelec security were forced to shut the Palacio’s entrance doors to keep their supporters, who wanted to also get inside the Comelec building, at bay.
In her speech, Poe lauded the Aquino administration for its efforts to curb corruption in the government but maintained that more still need to be done.
“A lot has changed especially in the fight against corruption and irregularities in government since the administration of President Aquino took over, but there are still many things that need to be done to enable us all to simultaneously level up,” she said in Filipino.
Escudero said if they are elected, they plan to create a government sensitive to the needs of the people.
Poe said they would announce their senatorial slate on Tuesday, adding that they already have 12 names on their list but two of them are yet to file their COC.
Reelectionist senators Teofisto Guingona 3rd and Sergio Osmeña 3rd, resigned Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, lawyer Lorna Kapunan and illegal-gambling whistle-blower Sandra Cam were among the prominent personalities who filed their COC for senator on Thursday
Osmena, who is seeking his fourth term as senator, filed his candidacy as an independent while Guingona and de Lima filed theirs under the Liberal Party.
Guingona was accompanied by his father and namesake, former vice president and senator Teofisto Guingona Jr. while de Lima was with her mother, Norma, and son, Israel.
Kapunan, who was the counsel of Dr. Hayden Kho when he got embroiled in a controversial sex video and suspected “pork barrel” mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, filed her candidacy under Aksyon Demokratiko, the party founded by her late law partner and former senator Raul Roco.
Cam said she is running under the Partido ng Masang Pilipino.
A certain Jose Larry Maquinana, who filed his COC for President, drew media attention for sporting a swastika flag–or the flag of Nazi Germany–on his chest.
Maquinana, who said he is a tricycle driver from Barangay Commonwealth (Quezon City), claimed he was a “Nazi” or a follower of the infamous German dictator Adolf Hitler and the sugo (chosen one) based on what is written in the Bible.