Comelec sees 7-way race
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 28, 2016 - 9:01am

MANILA, Philippines – With barely six days left before it finalizes the voter’s lists, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday that voters might see seven people racing for the presidency on May 9.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista noted that the seven might make it to the Certified List of Candidates to be finalized on Wednesday.

“There will be seven. Most likely it will be the ‘magnificent seven’,” Bautista said in an interview.

He identified them as: Vice President Jejomar Binay (United Nationalist Alliance); Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago (People’s Reform Party); Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan); Mel Mendoza (Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino); Sen. Grace Poe (Independent); Mar Roxas (Liberal Party), and Rep. Roy Señeres (Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka Workers and Peasants Party).

Earlier, he announced the six qualified candidates for the vice presidency as Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., and Antonio Trillanes, all independent; Sen. Gregorio Honasan of UNA and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo of LP.

Comelec decided yesterday to uphold an earlier ruling of the First Division, which declared independent Dante Valencia as a nuisance candidate because of his failure to prove that he could mount a nationwide campaign.

“The en banc had reached a final decision to declare him a nuisance candidate. But, he can still go to the Supreme Court to seek a temporary restraining order if he wants to question our decision,” Bautista said.

The poll chief admitted the commission also debated on whether or not to retain Mendoza on the list.

“Some of us believe that (having a) political party should not be used as sole ground but (we also have to look into) the candidate’s personal qualifications. But that is the en banc’s decision – that he is a nominee of a known political party,” Bautista explained.

Mendoza, 40, is a resident of Barangay Minuyan, San Jose del Monte in Bulacan and works as an assistant project officer.

Based on the Comelec timeline, it would have to finalize the lists of candidates by Feb. 3 because the printing of official ballots at the National Printing Office will start five days later.

Comelec also decided that candidates who have a pending disqualification case shall still be included in the ballots and their votes considered “stray” in the event they lose their cases.

Both Duterte and Poe have pending disqualification cases before the Comelec and the Supreme Court (SC).

All four disqualification cases against Duterte are yet to be resolved as the commission waits on its First Division to decide on a motion to inhibit Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon from the proceedings.

Poe also waits on the SC to rule on the appeal she filed against the Comelec resolutions, which disqualified her from the presidential race.

ACIRC ANTONIO TRILLANES BARANGAY MINUYAN BAUTISTA CAMARINES SUR REP CERTIFIED LIST OF CANDIDATES COMELEC COMELEC AND THE SUPREME COURT COMELEC CHAIRMAN ANDRES BAUTISTA FIRST DIVISION
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