MANILA—Landing in a petition against “nuisance” candidates is not “kiss of death” for 95 senatorial aspirants, an election official said Tuesday, but insisted that “good intentions” alone would not qualify them to run in next year’s midterm polls.
These candidates should take the opportunity to prove that they can mount a nationwide campaign, said James Jimenez, spokesman of the Commission on Elections.
“Hindi yan kiss of death kung na-petition ka (It's not a kiss of death if a petition is filed against you)... I hope that people don’t take offense,” he told ABS-CBN News on Monday.
“Yung petition only says, hindi kami sure sa’yo (The petition only says, we're not sure about you). So please prove that you are capable. That’s all. It’s not a judgment on whether or not a person should run for office.”
The Comelec has asked a total of 95 people to explain why their certificates of candidacy should not be rejected.
Conrado Generoso, former spokesman of Malacañang charter drafting group, urged the Comelec to dismiss its law department’s petition against him. He earlier described it as an “insult.”
The Comelec petition described him as a “virtual unknown” nationwide, and questioned his financial capability to campaign.
“A legitimate candidate’s logistics and wherewithal, are not measured by cash on hard or in bank,” he argued in his response to the petition.
A handful of supporters of Generoso’s Katipunan party gathered across the Comelec office in Manila on Monday and tore pieces of paper with the words “political dynasties” and “traditional politicians.”
The group described it as a ceremonial rejection of the same wealthy candidates who had been controlled Philippine politics for so long.
Lawyer Ernesto Arellano, a Katipunan senatorial candidate, slammed the Comelec for allowing such moneyed politicians to run, while considering the likes of him as “nuisance.”
Arellano’s group also cited candidates who had been implicated in multi-billion-peso corruption cases but were still running in the 2019 elections.
The law allows such candidates to still seek an elective public office in the absence of final conviction.
Jimenez said the Comelec was tasked only to determine a candidate’s eligibility to run.
“The Comelec is not going to judge anyone based on whatever. It’s not our job,” he said. “If someone is linked with corruption, then take him to court. File a case against him.“
The Katipunan’s entire 12–man senatorial slate, which represents most of the regions, has been included in the Comelec law department’s “nuisance” list.
Generoso noted that Katipunan is an accredited national party.
But the Comelec earlier said it failed to submit a list of authorized signatories and specimen signatures, a requirement for the candidacy certificates of its slate.
Generoso described this as a “lame excuse of a technically,” insisting such requirements were already filed for the 2016 elections.
Under the rules, failure to submit these documents would turn the candidates of a party into “independents,” who would then need to prove their financial capability to campaign nationwide.