MANILA – With a total of 130 presidential candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs) and sought to join next year’s national elections, urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) asserted that this was not a sign of a vibrant democracy but of dissatisfaction over the present government.
Moreover, there have been 19 vice-presidential aspirants and 172 senatorial candidates who also filed their COCs – majority of them were ordinary citizens or unpopular bets.
KADAMAY president Gloria Arellano claimed that the Aquino administration was flawed and inept, driving many ordinary people to seek elective posts in the coming general elections.
Arellano questioned President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s “daang matuwid” (straight path) type of governance, after several killings and harassment of urban poor leaders sustained during his term. She also vowed that they would continue to keep a watchful eye in the administration.
Former Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) chief Getulio Napeñas was among those who filed COCs, stating that he opted to enter politics after the government failed to bring justice to the slain 44 SAF men.
Meanwhile, among the 130 presidential aspirants, Senator Grace Poe emerged as the top preferred successor of Aquino. Feeling ‘honored and humbled,’ Poe still drew inspiration from the people’s needs rather than the results of the presidential preferences surveys.
“My sincerest gratitude to the people for their unwavering support. I am honored and humbled… Surveys help us check if we’re on the right track but we derive inspiration from the needs and aspirations of our countrymen,” Poe said in a statement.
Notary service to blame
The huge number of candidates in the May 2016 elections has been brought about by the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) third-party notarial service offered right inside their Project Management Office (PMO) during last week’s filing, according to a lawyer at the agency.
All filed COCs were required to be sworn before notary public or other authorized officials. The lawyer then believed that the notary service resulted in the record-breaking number of aspirants. He added that the legal department was initially against offering the said service.
“If we did not make available a notary public inside, many of these nuisance candidates, who lacked this requirement, will be discouraged from pushing through with filing their COCs,” the unnamed lawyer said in an Inquirer.net report.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, however, stressed that the third-party notarial service was offered in good faith as there were legitimate filers who came to Comelec without document stamps and were assisted.
“It doesn’t matter if we have more nuisance candidates now because the process of filing became more convenient to the legitimate filers,” Jimenez said in the same report.
“We did that for the first time because we wanted to make the experience as easy for the filers as possible. It really means nothing, but the service that was provided to those who didn’t have the document stamps meant everything,” he added.