GMA News Online

Odd Senate bets worm into poll system flaw

January 17, 2007 11:45pm
On the third day Wednesday of the five-month election period, unknown faces swarmed into the Commission on Elections law department, declaring bizarre government platform in their certificate of candidacy (COC) and promising a “culture of optimism" if they would make it to the Senate on May 14.

Four of the nine senatorial hopefuls drew the interest of reporters covering the Comelec, which vowed to purge the list of what it called nuisance candidates in the coming days.

One of the early birds was Daniel Magtira. After claiming that his candidacy was endorsed by Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos and television entertainment host Boy Abunda, Magtira threw reporters off when he bared: “My wife is Kris Aquino."

In his certificate, Magtira wrote his profession as an “automotive electronic Pinoy rock singer composer." He said he is a registered voter of “Precinct No. 213, Barangay 20, Manila, Malolos, Bulacan."

The sixth to file his COC was Arturo Atienza, who claims to be a businessman. Atienza said God whispered to him that he should run for the Senate. He said God told him he would be the “sixth" elected senator in the coming May polls.

Not to be outdone, Julieto Esmeralda Sr., who claims to be both a pastor and a businessman, wants a culture of optimism to prevail among Filipinos. In his COC, Esmeralda wants to be known as “Mr. Deal," relating his nickname to a television game show.

“I want people to know that the answer to everything is always ‘deal’," he told reporters.

The last to file for the day was Buenafe Briggs with the moniker “Mr. RP-statehood-USA."

Briggs, whose real name “as per Supreme Court Case GR#163045" is Brigido Asuncion Buenafe, said he wants the Philippines to become part of the United States.

Asked by reporters why he was speaking in English to people around him, Briggs said he needs practice because he intends to campaign in Filipino communities in the US.

Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. said the poll body’s clerk has no authority to declare a wannabe a nuisance candidate since its duty is limited to receiving COCs from all applicants.

According to him, it is the commission en banc which will determine and declare nuisance bets based on complaints by qualified voters before the Comelec.

Under the Election Code, a candidate could be declared nuisance if his or her candidacy is meant to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters, among others. - GMANews.TV
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