THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has included in its initial official certified list of presidential candidates Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte even if the disqualification cases filed against them are still pending.
Two virtual unknowns—Mel Mendoza of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Dante Valencia, an independent—also made it to the list.
Valencia was earlier declared a nuisance candidate but he appealed the ruling.
The case is pending at the Comelec en banc.
The other presidential candidates are Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Miriam-Defensor Santiago, former Interior secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and OFW party-list Rep. Roy Señeres.
Poe and Duterte are facing disqualification cases.
In December last year, the poll body disqualified Poe on grounds that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen and she failed to meet the residency requirement for presidential candidates.
The senator questioned the Comelec decision at the Supreme Court.
The tribunal issued a temporary restraining order stopping the poll body from canceling her certificate of candidacy although the court is yet to decide on merits of the case.
The disqualification cases filed against Duterte are yet to be decided by the Comelec.
The poll body also listed six candidates for Vice President–Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes 4th and Rep. Maria Leonor Robredo.
Meanwhile, 52 candidates will fight for 12 Senate positions.
These include Rafael Alunan, Grego Belgica, Walden Bello, Neri Colmenares, Leila de Lima, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, former Special Action Force chief Getulio Napenas, Susan Ople, Sen. Sergio Osmena 3rd, Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, Edu Manzano, Alma Moreno and Iskho Moreno.
There were also 120 party-list groups on the Comelec list.
The commission said the certified list of candidates it released is merely an initial one and it may still be changed depending on outcomes of various cases or complaints pending before the poll body.
Those who made it to the initial list were advised to check if their names appear on the official ballot.
Request for corrections should be communicated in writing to the regional election director, provincial election supervisor or election officer concerned.
For this year’s elections, 18,069 national and local positions will be up for grabs–President, Vice President, 12 senators, 58 party-list representatives, 235 district congressmen, 81 governors, 81 vice governors and 772 members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Also at stake are 144 posts for city mayors, 144 city vice mayors, 1,610 city councilors, 1,490 municipal mayors, 1,490 municipal vice mayor and 11,924 municipal councilors.
Slots are also open for governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, ARMM vice governor and 24 ARMM assemblymen.
Marcos on Thursday expressed support to the decision of the Comelec to begin printing of ballots in February.
Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum, he said the commission has already pushed back the scheduled printing of ballots several times.
Marcos added that the Comelec needs to print ballots for more than 42,000 barangay (villages) with different sets of candidates.
The start of the printing of ballots was originally scheduled on January 10 but it was postponed to give way to pending complaints, disqualification cases and restraining orders from the Supreme Court and the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
“I think the Comelec tried its best to push back and to accommodate everything. But I think we are already in the deadline which cannot be pushed back further,” Marcos explained.
The Comelec on Wednesday announced that it would start printing ballots on February 1.
But Senate President Franklin Drilon sought another deferment, saying the poll body should wait for the Supreme Court’s decision on the cases pending before it.
“Pushing through with printing the ballots even before the SC can decide on the disqualification cases is equivalent to an utter disrespect to the Supreme Court and its jurisdiction on the matter,” Drilon said.
He added that the credibility of the 2016 elections will be put in question if the ballots will contain names of candidates that the High Tribunal had disqualified.