Comelec supports bill penalizing nuisance candidates

Maris Federez   •   October 28, 2021   •   232

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has announced its support for the proposed bill that seeks to penalize those who will be declared ‘nuisance candidates’.

Under House Bill 9557 is the provision that will mete out a penalty of Php100,000 to a nuisance candidate and his supporter.

Director Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal, head of Comelec Law Department said that under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, a candidate is considered a nuisance if he is found guilty of making a mockery of the elections, running to cause confusion for bearing the same name with another candidate, and showing no real intention to run for a position.

“We support the imposition of the fine, the P100,000,” Casingal said.

“And we also would like to propose that those who have been declared as nuisance candidates be disqualified for running for 2 successive elections […] They can no longer substitute, your honor, if they have been declared as a nuisance candidate,” she insisted.

Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms chairperson Imee Marcos, however, asked Comelec first of a more detailed data on previous candidates who were declared a nuisance for the panel to further study the issue.

“We should have the data and the experience to compare. Nagdadahan-dahan din tayo kasi ayaw din ng Supreme Court na palibhasa […] sinasabi na hindi masyadong di kilala o walang pera dahil o walang partido, hindi naman basta-basta i-disqualify,” Marcos said.

Election lawyer, Atty. George Garcia, on the other hand, said that rather than meting out penalties or fines straightaway, the law must be amended first to clear out the details on the merits of declaring somebody a nuisance candidate.

Garcia believes the penalties will cause undue concern or fear among ordinary Filipinos who may have intentions of running for any government position.

“Minsan, halimbawa sinabi lang na ‘meron ka na bang political history? Nakatakbo na ba ikaw kahit barangay chairman man lang o naging barangay tanod?’ Hello? Nasaan sa batas natin na dapat naging barangay tanod o barangay chairman o kung anuman? Pero ‘yon, maniwala kayo’t sa hindi, pagka naghi-hearing patungkol sa nuisance, nasasabi ‘yun. Nababanggit. Pero wala naman sa batas ‘yon,” Garcia said.

“Kung ‘yon pa rin, yung Sec. 69 pa rin na nagde-define ng nuisance candidate, tapos bigla ka lang magdadagdag ng fine at saka ng perpetual disqualification to hold public office, halimbawa, sa aking palagay, parang magbo-border na siya sa violation ng equal protection clause under the Constitution,” he further said.

Ateneo School of Government executive director Professor Edmund Tayao also underscored the need to closely look into the proposed bill.

“There are those who really want to offer themselves as an alternative candidate to the public; albeit, however, they don’t have the resources to conduct a respectable campaign. Kasi yun ‘yung definition natin ng nuisance candidate. Nade-declare ka’ng nuisance candidate kung nag-file ka ng candidacy mo, kandidato ka, but it turns out hindi ka naman makakapagkampanya nationally. This has to be looked into closely.”

Meanwhile, Comelec is set to release a tentative list of candidates for the 2022 national and local elections on October 29. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

Mayor Isko to adopt Duterte in senatorial slate for 2022 polls

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

(L-R) Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso and President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso announced Monday (December 6) that he is ready to support the candidacy of President Rodrigo Duterte in the senatorial race in the 2022 national and local elections.

In a press briefing in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, Moreno said he is ready to adopt the president into the senatorial slate of the Aksyon Demokratiko party.

“I am going to vote for him personally and I am going to endorse him hopefully kung papayag siya, I’ll be honored. I’ll be humbled and honored na umoo si Pangulong Duterte. Nakuha ko nga siyang iboto, hindi ko pa ba siya makuhang i-adopt?” Moreno said.

Moreno said Duterte has undeniably proven his competence and capability as head of state, making him more qualified to be a senator. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Comelec faces backlash for denying application of 2 party-list groups

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has earned the ire of two party-list groups as the poll body rejected their applications for accreditation for the 2022 national and local elections.

The groups, Nurses United and Guardians, trooped in front of the Comelec office in Manila to question the poll body’s decision to deny their application.

The Comelec, in its ruling, said the group’s representation of its membership is erroneous.

The Nurses United accused the commission of being cold-hearted to the condition of Filipino workers in the health sector.

“Pinatay po nila yong pag-asa ng mga nurses at mga manggagawang pangkalusugan. Pag-asa na magkaroon ng tunay na representante na manggagawang pangkalusugan sa loob ng kongeso. Sapagkat napakarami pong isyu na dapat matugunan sa usapin po ng ating manggagawang pangkalusugan,” said Maristela Abenojar, 1st nominee, NU Partylist.

The group’s motion for reconsideration was also denied by the poll body.

The group asked Comelec to provide them with a copy of the resolution of their denial.

Meanwhile, the group, Guardians, questioned Comelec for denying them the opportunity to make it to the list.

Based on the Comelec ruling, the group failed to prove that the majority of its membership are poor and are senior citizens.

The group pointed out that they have been assisting the government in disaster and relief operations, among others.

“Pinapakita lang namin na nandito kami. Kami yong sinasabi ninyong walang representation,” said Bong Contapay, Guardians Partylist 1st Nominee.

Since they failed in their appeal to the poll body, the group said they will be filing an appeal to the Supreme Court to have their application be reviewed and considered.

Meanwhile, based on Comelec Resolution No. 10735, to date, 152 registered party-list groups have made it to the list to be raffled a designated number come December 10.

On the other hand, 107 applications were denied; while 13 applications still await the final decision of the poll body.

The final list of party-list groups will be released 15 days after all the designation numbers are raffled off. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Dante Amento)

CA confirms Bulay’s appointment to COMELEC

Robie de Guzman   •   December 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Appointments (CA) on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of lawyer Rey Bulay as a new Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner.

Bulay got unanimous votes from the 25-man panel after the CA committee on constitutional commissions and offices conducted a hearing to determine his experience and capability to hold a sensitive government post.

President Rodrigo Duterte nominated Bulay to COMELEC in November to replace former COMELEC Commissioner Luie Tito Guia who retired in February 2020.

Prior to his appointment, Bulay served as Manila chief city prosecutor and a commissioner at the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

He also served as councilor of Muntinlupa City in the early part of his career as a public servant.

Bulay’s tenure in COMELEC will end on February 2, 2027.

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