Friday, December 4, 2009

75% of presidential bets face disqualification

By Mayen Jaymalin
The Philippine Star
Updated December 03, 2009 12:00 AM

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines - Roughly 75 percent of aspiring presidents and politicians who filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) are likely to be disqualified for being unable to launch a meaningful campaign, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“We estimate that of the total candidates that filed their COCs, only 25 percent are considered serious candidates and the 75 percent are not so serious,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

Jimenez noted that in the 2004 national elections, the Comelec conducted an omnibus hearing in an effort to cleanse the list of candidates of nuisance bets.

“I still don’t know what the Commission will do right now, but we have to finish (the cleansing) right away so we could come out with the official list of candidates,” he explained.

The number of presidential candidates and other aspirants for national posts who have filed their COCs has reached a record 277.

Records from the Comelec’s legal department showed 99 candidates have filed COCs for president, 20 for vice president and 158 for senator. “It’s a record breaker,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez said the Comelec expects to come out with an official list of candidates for the May 2010 elections by the end of the month so the printing of ballots could start by the first week of January.

Ferdinand Rafanan, Comelec law department chief, said they are now encoding the names of the candidates for final evaluation.

Rafanan said the Comelec will accept disqualification petitions until Dec. 6 although it can motu propio declare a candidate nuisance and cancel his COC.

Rafanan said the holding of the first automated elections in the country may have encouraged more people, including non-politicians and virtual unknowns, to participate in next year’s elections.

For some, Rafanan said, it’s frustration with the country’s situation that convinces them to try to seek the people’s mandate to address national problems.

A candidate can be considered a nuisance if his candidacy makes a mockery of the political exercise or if it can cause confusion among voters, like having similar names.

Rafanan added that a candidate can also be declared nuisance if he is not really a politician, does not have a political party or capability to mount a national campaign.

The last candidate to file his COC at midnight Tuesday was aiming for the presidency. He listed his name as Manuel “Fernando” Po.

Former Rep. Gilbert Remulla was also among the last to beat the deadline when he filed before midnight his COC for senator under the Nacionalista Party.

Original Story:

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