Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2013 Elections: Nuisance Candidates in Philippines

Negros Oriental provincial election supervisor Atty. Eddie Aba is calling on all candidates seeking elective positions in the May 2013 polls to file early their petition for disqualification of a candidate to relieve the work load of the Law Department of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Atty. Aba issued his appeal Saturday, a day after the Comelec ended its five-day filing period for certificates of candidacy for persons wanting to run in next year's elections.

According to Atty. Aba, a petition to have a particular candidate declared as "nuisance" and have his or her name struck out of the official list of candidates and the official ballot is a tedious process that requires ample time for the law department of the poll body to act on.

Filing the petition for disqualification of a candidate earlier would avoid the risk of having this particular candidate's name printed on the official ballot even if the Comelec ruled in favor of the petitioner much later after the ballots have been printed, Aba pointed out.

The National Printing Office will be printing the official ballots in February 2013, Aba said.

In 2010, Rep. George Arnaiz filed a disqualification case against rival candidate Raul Aniñon, seeking to strike his name out of the official ballot. Arnaiz expressed frustration that even if he had filed his petition early, the Comelec central office released its decision much later, after the official ballots had already been printed.

Arnaiz, who is seeking re-election in 2013 for his 3rd term in Congress, announced last week after filing his COC that he is no longer interested in filing a disqualification case against Aniñon, who is also contesting the same position.

Atty. Aba explained that in the filing of a disqualification case against a particular candidate for whatever reason, the poll body's Law Department will have to scrutinize the petition and determine the legal grounds for disqualification.

He believes the Law Department of the Comelec will be saddled with similar petitions in the coming months prior to the May 2013 mid-term elections.

Meanwhile, the deadline for the substitution of candidates with respect to withdrawal of candidacies has been set on December 21.

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