Comelec sees up to 15 presidential bets, over 100 party-list groups in 2022 ballot

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 29) — The May 2022 elections could feature the longest list of presidential candidates in history, with up to 15 aspirants possibly landing a spot on the ballot.

Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez revealed Monday that the poll body has moved to declare 82 presidential bets as nuisance candidates out of 97 who filed certificates of candidacy for the position in October.

In 2016, there were only six presidentiables on the ballot. Jimenez said the record so far is 10 official candidates in the 1998 presidential race, where actor and then Vice President Joseph Estrada emerged as the winner.

Meanwhile, there may be up to 12 candidates for the vice-presidential race as Comelec is poised to drop 15 other aspirants from the roll. The poll body is also slated to declare as nuisance 108 aspiring senators out of the 174 who want to run, which would leave more than 60 candidates competing for 12 Senate seats. 

The poll body is set to release its official list of candidates on December 15, a month ahead of the period for the printing of ballots.

Cases vs candidates

Meanwhile, there are 89 petitions filed seeking to cancel the respective candidacies of 2022 aspirants nationwide.

These include two against the presidential bid of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and one against TV host Raffy Tulfo, who is running as senator.

READ: Cases vs Marcos, Tulfo’s 2022 bid raffled to Comelec 2nd Division

Majority of the hotly-contested candidacies are for local posts in Mindanao.

In the town of Bacolod Kalawi in Lanao Del Sur, a certain Nora Dipatuan filed cases against four of the five opponents in the mayoralty race, sparing only the candidate which carried her surname. There are also multiple pleas opposing the candidacies of members of the Mangudadatu clan in Maguindanao, based on Comelec records.

Actor Raymond Bagatsing is also facing a complaint as he runs as vice mayor in the City of Manila, while former Camarines Sur Representative Rolando Andaya is opposing the Congressional bid of incumbent Governor Migz Villafuerte and three other local bets.

Party-list race

Comelec has so far accredited 138 party-list groups and is processing the petitions of 102 more who are seeking at least one seat in the 19th Congress.

The party-list system—which was initially crafted to represent the poor and other marginalized groups—has become a star-studded affair, with TV hosts and other celebrities hoping to become a lawmaker on behalf of their sector, regional or political party of interest.

READ: Comelec rejects 126 party-list applicants 

Groups like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan, TUCP, CIBAC, and Ako Bicol remain in the running.

Some party-lists led by showbiz icons are still waiting to secure the poll body's approval, such as Superstar Nora Aunor's National Organization for Responsive Advocacies for the Arts (NORAA) and celebrity chef Boy Logro's Aangat Kusinerong Pinoy (Logro Kusinero).

TV host Karla Estrada's group, Tingog party-list representing Visayans, will surely be part of the race as the group has been able to field and win a slot in past elections.

Controversial former Tourism secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo is also the first nominee of the group named Turismo, while multi-level marketing firm Frontrow founder Samuel Verzosa is running under the group Tutok to Win.

There are also groups vying for gender representation, such as LGBTQ Plus, Gabriela, and Babae Ako.

There are three party-lists using the President's name: Duterte Youth, Duterte Atin To, and Duterte KBGAN. However, only Duterte Youth is sure to compete so far.

Meanwhile, the fate of sexy dancer turned pro-government vlogger Mocha Uson's Mothers for Change (Mocha) party-list, as well as that of former MMDA spokesman Celine Pialago's Malasakit Movement, remain under appeal.

Pialago previously served as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or NTF-ELCAC, which has been criticized for labeling government critics as communist rebel sympathizers without basis.

A voter can only vote for one party-list group.