DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Nov) – Five local candidates here have been identified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to be subjected for hearing in order to determine whether or not they are nuisance candidates, an election officer said Tuesday.
But lawyer John Paul Cubero, election officer of the city’s second district, refused to identify those included in his report containing the names of possible nuisance candidates.
The city has six mayoralty candidates for next year’s elections with only Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as re-electionist. He will be contending with new bets, namely, Rodrigo Sulamin, Rolly Solis, Magdaleno Marcellanes Jr., Teodoro Mantilla and Rodrigo Buezon.
For the city council, the first district has 18 candidates, second district has 16 and the third District, 17. In the congressional race, three are running in the first, four in the second, and only one in the third district.
“I already submitted my report in the middle of October but so far the law department has not replied yet. It is not an automatic declaration of nuisance,” he said.
He added that his report was a preliminary evaluation and the Comelec will still send notices to concerned candidates and conduct hearing as part of the due process.
“Usually, it only takes them around a few weeks to reply but considering that all Comelec offices in the cities, municipalities and provinces all over the country submitted their reports and the number of candidates per position, maybe it would take them longer this time to review,” he said.
But he explained that most probably the law department will have its decision by December as the Comelec central office will finalize the ballots for printing by January.
Cubero cited Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, which states that a nuisance candidate is a person who has filed a certificate of candidacy (COC) to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by a similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office for which the COC has been filed.
Lawyer Aimee Ampoloquio, election officer of the first district, said an initial investigation on nuisance candidates is also based on their demeanor – how they act, their appearance, among other characteristics.
But Ampoloquio said identifying nuisance candidates is not an easy task because “we cannot judge the person only by his or her physical appearance.” (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)