MANILA—Candidates identified initially as “nuisance” have raised “complex legal issues,” prompting the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to delay the release of the official list of contenders, its spokesman said Monday.
The poll body, which was supposed to make the final list available last December 15, is expected to resolve these issues, including the validity of several nomination certificates, later this week, said spokesman James Jimenez.
The Comelec’s law department earlier included 95 candidates in its "nuisance" list, citing mainly their lack of financial capability to run a nationwide campaign.
Jimenez acknowledged that “some of the cases are complex.”
"It’s not simply about money. It’s not simply about whether or not the candidate is popular to begin with. There were some complex legal issues that were raised that had to be resolved internally kaya tayo tumagal nang konti," he told reporters.
Lawyer Angelo De Alban, for instance, filed a motion for reconsideration, saying the Comelec’s first division committed "grave abuse of discretion" by rejecting his senatorial candidacy.
De Alban, a college teacher, argued that no law required "financial capability" as a qualification for senator.
Aside from the "nuisance" cases, Jimenez said the Comelec was still resolving issues raised on the validity of certain certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA).
The document is issued by political parties to their official candidates.
An invalid CONA will mean that a candidate is an independent and as such, cannot be substituted, Jimenez explained.
But if the candidate was substituted anyway following a void nomination certificate, the replacement would not be allowed, he said.
“Maraming ganung mga klaseng pending complications,” he said.
Jimenez said printing of the official ballot was expected either later this month or during the first week of January next year.
The official list of candidates is needed for the final ballot design.
The Comelec on Monday received one of three sealed thumb drives containing the executable file of the software program for the election management system (EMS) for the May 2019 polls.
It was kept in a sealed ballot box to be deposited in escrow at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The EMS will contain such information as data on voters and candidates, ballot design.
“I just want to assure the public... that lahat ng gagawin natin is really transparent,” said Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo, who monitored the building of the EMS software by the Alabama-based firm PV&V.