Comelec upholds disqualification of 7 nuisance bets

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court has upheld rulings of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify seven nuisance candidates from the presidential race. The SC dismissed the separate petitions filed by Rizalito David, Elly Pamatong, Juanita Trocenio, Ephraim Defino, Buenafe Briggs, Antonio Obiña and Luisito Falcon questioning the resolutions of the Comelec to cancel their certificates of candidacy for president, Theodore Te, SC spokesman, said yesterday.

“The high court dismissed the petitions on the ground that the Comelec did not act with grave abuse of discretion,” Te said.

David, petitioner in the disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe in the Senate Electoral Tribunal, earlier questioned before the SC the Comelec’s ruling that he is a nuisance bet.

Pamatong ran for president in 2004 and 2010 and was disqualified in both instances.Another candidate disqualified by the Comelec was vice presidential candidate Nid Anima. Anima, who claimed to be from Aasenso Sabungero party-list group, questioned his disqualification by the Comelec.

But the SC dismissed his petition outright and upheld his disqualification.

The high court also affirmed the disqualification of four party-list groups – Mindanao Alliance for Reforms, Bagong Alyansang Manggagawang Pangtransportasyon Para sa Edukasyon at Reporma, Political Party of the People’s Movement for Democratic Governance and Aasenso sa Barangay.

It held that the Comelec was correct in dismissing the groups’ accreditation for the May 9 polls.

The SC, however, gave due course to the petitions of disqualified party-list groups Vieva Farmers Coalition and Scholarship ng Masa.

The high court ordered the Comelec to explain its rulings rejecting the petitioners’ registration as party-list groups. 

Poe campaign ad

Meanwhile, lawyers criticized the latest television campaign advertisement of Sen. Grace Poe pertaining to her disqualification from the presidential race.

The SC set the preliminary conference on Poe’s case today in preparation for the oral arguments on Jan. 19.

Former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez, litigation expert Raymond Fortun and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal raised questions on the comparison of Poe’s case to that of her late father, Fernando Poe Jr., who also faced disqualification when he ran for president in 2004.

Valdez said Poe’s new political advertisement was apparently trying to influence the SC judgment on her disqualification cases.

By popularizing Poe’s insistence on her eligibility for the presidency, the high court might be put in a bad light should it rule against her, Valdez explained.

Valdez believes that Poe’s camp might be trying to hit two birds with one stone through the campaign strategy.

“Such subtle suggestion may be double-edged. Aside from the SC, it could also be addressed to Poe’s funders and supporters,” he said.

Valdez is one of four petitioners in the disqualification cases against Poe before the Comelec.

The others are former senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former Government Service Insurance System chief lawyer Estrella Elamparo.Fortun criticized Poe’s camp for the new campaign ad, which he described as “misleading.”

He said the cases of Poe and her father are different.“To come up with an ad that says ‘ganyan-ganyan din ang ginawa nila sa tatay niyang si FPJ’ (that’s exactly what they did to FPJ) is a deception to the people,” Fortun said.

In the 30-second ad, four neighbors are shown discussing the disqualification cases against Poe, with one of them insisting that the senator remains a candidate for presidency.

But in the end, the SC allowed him to run. “Parang pelikula lang yan ni FPJ, nagpapabugbog sa simula (That’s like an FPJ movie, he lets himself get beaten up at the start),” the TV ad says.

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