Comelec moves to declare 75% of hopefuls vying for national posts as nuisance

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 4) — The Commission on Elections has moved to declare three-fourths of aspiring candidates for the presidency and other national posts in 2022 as nuisance bets, an official said.

“Most of them, especially for the position of president, vice president, and senator will be considered as nuisance candidates... The Law Department already filed a petition declaring these aspirants (as nuisance),” Director Elaiza Sabile-David of the Comelec’s Education and Information Department said during a forum organized by the Development Academy of the Philippines’ Policy Research Office.

“These aspirants were included in the petition, almost 3/4 of the numbers and ‘yun po, we’re just waiting for the final declaration of them as nuisance and if they are declared (as such), then they will be removed from the list,” she added.

READ: Comelec wants nuisance candidates slapped with ₱100K fine, barred in 2 straight elections

According to Comelec’s tentative list of candidates published Oct. 29, there are 97 vying for the presidency, 28 as vice president, 174 as senator, and 270 party-list groups who want a seat in Congress.

Aspiring leaders without a legitimate intention or platform to run, as well as those seen to cause “mockery” of the electoral process, are considered by Comelec as nuisance bets.

A final list of candidates is expected before yearend, which will carry fewer names compared to the number of those who filed their certificates of candidacy.

In the 2016 polls, only six out of 130 presidential hopefuls made it to the ballot.

Meanwhile, Sabile-David said Comelec is still finalizing campaign rules for the upcoming elections, hoping to release the guidelines by mid-November.

Pinag-aaralan pong mabuti ‘yung [We are closely studying the] provisions especially in the use of the social media because we all know that for these elections, considering there would be limitation in face to face interactions and mass gatherings, what will be heavily utilized is the social media platform,” Sabile-David said on Thursday.

She added: “Wala pa pong batas kaya po [There’s no law yet on the use of social media, that’s why] this is very challenging for the Comelec on how to monitor the use of social media by the candidates.”

RELATED: Comelec eyes limits for 2022 physical campaign rallies, no raising of hands for winners

Procurement

Also on Thursday, the poll body declared a failed bidding for 330,000 pieces of I-Buttons in its third attempt to buy them. These would be used for digital signatures to further secure the polls.

Watchdog group National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections or Namfrel has been pushing for this plan, which involves setting a unique code for each election inspector as they transmit voting results from the vote counting machines (VCMs) to the board of canvassers.

If the digital signature of the electoral board matched the one printed in the transmitted results, it means the tally of votes has not been tampered with.

This is seen as a key reform to dispel doubts about the integrity of the polls, especially after the so-called seven-hour glitch in 2019. Comelec has said votes were kept intact even though there were problems in updating the transparency server.

The I-Buttons must be compatible with the machines made by Smartmatic.

Companies interested to bid this time said they cannot meet the Dec. 1 delivery deadline set by Comelec.

Other pending big-ticket contracts for the upcoming polls include the leasing of 10,000 additional VCMs for ₱864.02 million, and the establishment of Comelec's election monitoring and action center for ₱200 million.