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Who are presidential bets Mel Mendoza and Dante Valencia?

Two new names made it to the Commission on Elections list of certified presidential candidates that was uploaded to the poll body's website.

They are Mel Mendoza of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, the party of former President and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and Dante Valencia, an independent.

Mendoza is reportedly already assured of qualifying for the presidential elections in May after the Comelec en banc dismissed the Comelec Law Department's petition for him to be deemed a nuisance candidate, according to a report by Joseph Morong on "24 Oras."

Valencia, on the other hand, was deemed a nuisance candidate by the Comelec First Division but could still appeal the ruling up to the Supreme Court. Thus, his name remained on the Comelec's official list of candidates.

But apart from showing up on the Comelec's official list, precious little information is available about the two candidates save for what they listed on their respective certificates of candidacy.

Mendoza, 39, declared in his certificate of candidacy for president that he was an "assistant project officer." He hailed from Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro but is a resident of Bulacan.

PMP president Senator Jinggoy Estrada and secretary-general Jesse Ejercito signed his COC.

Valencia, 58, is from Quirino province but is a resident of Quezon City. He is a civil engineer and a "networker."

Efforts to find more information about the two candidates turned up little. Mendoza's name turns up in news articles about his involvement with the Kalipunan ng Masang Pilipino, which is affiliated with Estrada's party.

A search for Valencia, meanwhile, returns an unverified Facebook page for his campaign. The Facebook page, in turn, links to a networking website touting the DCV Program run by the MCV Foundation.

"The MCV Foundation is managed by its Executive Vice President/Executive Director Engr. Dante C. Valencia and a Board of Trustees who meet on a regular basis to determine courses and actions which the Foundation will implement," the website reads.

"The primary goals of the MCV Foundation are: the alleviation of poverty; help unite the people; promote peace and good governance; help in the eradication of graft and corruption and other crimes; as well as plan and undertake specific measures to help restore and preserve the environment for the enjoyment of future generations," it adds.

The foundation supposedly raises funds for the DCV Program, which is described as "a unique and an internationally copyrighted system / program ... to raise the much-needed funds from valued donors/participants all over the country and the world."

Final list

Comelec will release its final list of official candidates on Tuesday.

"May mga pending pang kaso, kung kaya namin habulin. Kung hindi namin kayang habulin, lalabas yun sa balota," Comelec Commissioner Christian Robert Lim told reporters.

Among the presidential candidates, those with pending cases also include Senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Poe has elevated her disqualification by the Comelec to the Supreme Court while the disqualification suit against Duterte remains pending in the poll body.

The list of vice presidential candidates remains unchanged with six names and that of the senatorial aspirants still has 52.

The Comelec is slated to start printing the ballots on February 1. --NB/JST, GMA News