QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has finished screening all certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2019 midterm elections.
In an interview with the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on Tuesday (December 11), Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez assured that list of official candidates is now ready for release on Saturday (December 15).
Jimenez assured they already weeded out all nuisance candidates from the list and all names are only of those who passed the requirements set by the agency.
The poll official clarified, however, that those who will be considered nuisance are given five to 10 days after release of list to appeal.
An election candidate is considered a nuisance under the Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code if he or she has the intent to make mockery of the election process; he or she has no bona fide intention or good faith to run in the election; or if he or she has causes confusion to the voting public through the similarity of his or her name to other registered candidates.
Jimenez added that any candidate who has no machinery or no capacity to fund a campaign or has no network of connections or supporters to sponsor his or her candidacy, will also be considered a nuisance.
“Hindi na magkakaroon ng hiwalay na deklarasyon na ito nuisance. Basta ilalabas na lamang namin yung final list kung wala ka dun ibig sabihin natanggal ka. Therefore, iyon lang ang lalabas sa balota,” he stressed.
The printing of official election ballots will commence in January next year. Jimenez said if there are names included in the list but will be disqualified along the way, the votes they will gain will automatically be voided.
Jimenez, however, admitted that the country’s election law is toothless when it comes to premature campaigning.
“Kung bawal ang premature campaigning sa kandidato tapos iaaply mo yung 2nd provision na nagsasabi na kung anu man ang pwedeng ipagbawal hindi pwedeng ipagbawal hanggat hindi nagsisimula ang campaign period. Ang resulta nyan is yung bawal pwede lang ipagbawal sa simula ng campaign period,” he explained.
It can be noted that Comelec has appealed to the lawmakers to draft a common guideline against those who will practice premature campaigning.
The measure is still pending in the Senate.
Comelec noted that automation is still better than manual elections. In fact, he explained, that those who were once critics of automated election system are now running for the 2019 polls.
This means, according to Jimenez, that the trust of the people on automated election has improved. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)