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Palace, Comelec welcome high number of aspirants for public office


Both Malacañang and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have welcomed the high number of individuals filing their certificates of candidacy for the 2016 elections, even though majority of them so far are virtually unknowns.

Comelec chair Andres Bautista said he sees the high number of aspirants filing their COC as a positive thing that has to be balanced with making sure the elections is not made a "mockery."

In a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, the second day of filing of COCs, Bautista said, "I see it positively na kumbaga, mas maraming gustong manilbi at sabi ko nga, karapatan naman ng isang mamamayan na mag-aspire for office."

As of 4 p.m., 35 aspirants have filed for president, seven for vice president, and 22 for senator.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez answered in the affirmative when he asked if it was considered a high number, particularly for the presidency.

Bautista noted that the willingness of more aspirants to present themselves as candidates for 2016 must also be balanced with retaining the solemnity of the elections.

"Pero kailangan nating ibalanse sa karapatan ng demokrasya na magkaroon ng maayos na halalan," he said. "Our elections should not be made a mockery or placed in disrepute.

At the morning press briefing, Jimenez told reporters that aspirants are free to file their COCs as "a manifestation of democracy."
 
"Ibig sabihin kasi, binibigyan mo ng pagkakataon ang lahat ng tao para patunayang puwede siyang i-consider for public office," he said.

Making it to the official list of candidates, however, is another matter, as all candidacies will be deliberated on.

The Comelec en banc met on Tuesday to discuss some matters related to the 2016 polls, including the possibility of coming up with FAQs or frequently asked questions on nuisance candidates, Bautista said.

"Dynamism of democracy"

In Malacañang, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said presidential hopefuls filing their COC for the 2016 national elections is part of the democratic process.

“The high number of presidential aspirants attest to the dynamism of our democracy and reflects the desire of well-meaning Filipinos to actively participate in the electoral process,” he said in a media briefing.

Coloma said it was up to the Filipino electorate to select their future leaders.

“Wala namang ibang restriction na nakalagay doon sa Saligang Batas mismo. Kaya sino naman tayo para humadlang sa pagnanais ng mga indibidwal na ialay ang sarili nila sa paglilingkod?” he said.

Of the over 30 who filed their COC for president, only four names are quite familiar with the public —
Vice President Jejomar Binay, former Iloilo congressman Augusto “Buboy” Syjuco Jr., OFW party-list Rep. Roy Señeres, and Rizalito David, who has filed a disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe.

The filing of COCs is scheduled until October 16, 5 p.m.

Coloma said the Comelec will soon determine based on existing law who among the presidential hopefuls can be considered as “nuisance candidates.”

“Iyong Comelec ay mayroong sapat na kapangyarihan para magtakda ng mga patakaran at regulasyon at sila rin ang nangangasiwa sa proseso ng pag-alam kung ang mga naghain ng certificate of candidacy ay dapat na ituring na nuisance candidates ayon sa depinisyon sa batas,” he said. —KBK, GMA News
Tags: eleksyon2016
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