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‘UNLESS THEY WITHDRAW’

List of six vice presidential candidates may be final, Comelec says


The names of six vice presidential candidates has been uploaded in the Commission on Elections' Election Management System, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said on Wednesday.

In a press conference, Comelec chair Andres Bautista named the following:
* Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo
* Sen. Francis Escudero
* Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
* Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano
* Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV
* Sen. Gregorio Honasan.

"'Yung sa vice president, siguro final na 'yun. I think you can say that those six are [included], unless they withdraw," Bautista told reporters.

Thirteen filed COCs for vice president before the deadline for filing on October 16. The others have been deemed nuisance.

Aside from the six vice presidential candidates, the Comelec also loaded 23 names for president, 68 for senator, and 119 for party-list groups.

Senator Grace Poe's name is among those uploaded for president despite the en banc's release of its resolutions that upheld the decisions of the First and Second Divisions, cancelling the senator's certificate of candidacy.

Also part of the initial list are aspirants who may not have been served with the decisions on their candidacy.

Bautista said the number of names of president will eventually "dwindle down to a single digit" when the printing of ballots begin on January 26.

"Initial lang 'yan. It is only this high because we have not been able to serve the decision to the candidates, some of whom live outside of Manila, in far-flung provinces," Bautista said.

Earlier, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained that the Comelec would start trimming down the list of candidates by starting with "a list of everyone who filed" COCs, from which they would remove those who should not be included in the ballot.

Candidates that would be on the list were those "cleared, at least as far as the Comelec is concerned," including those without pending protests, or whose protests having been resolved.

Jimenez said in an interview that the decision is "not the end of the story" yet as it can be brought up to higher levels, including the Supreme Court. (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/546505/news/nation/comelec-may-still-include-grace-poe-in-ballot)

"The tendency is that if there is a case that has not been resolved with finality, the tendency will be to put the name of the candidate on the list. It doesn't matter who," Jimenez said.

He added: "If a person has a pending motion with any body that might have an effect on the candidacy, and they're put on the ballot, it's easier to ignore the votes cast for that person, than to take them out of the ballot and then later on find out that they should've been on the ballot in the first place."

"Mas practical siguro 'yung isama na lang, and then maybe stray the votes later on if they turn out to be unqualified," he said.

An aspirant may seek a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court five days after receipt of the decision against his or her candidacy. Commissioner Christian Robert Lim said editing the list will start on January 8.

"Kung walang TRO, then we have to remove the name. We start editing on January 8, so from a technological standpoint January 8 is the start of the time we start removing names from the list," he said.

The en banc will finalize the list for printing between January 18 to 20. The printing of ballots will start on January 26 and will end on April 12.  —NB, BAP, GMA News

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