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Obscure hopefuls aim for Malacañang

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Obscure hopefuls aim for Malacañang
File photo shows Malacañan Palace
Presidential Museum and Library

MANILA, Philippines (1st update, 5:33 p.m.; October 2) — Political scholars have long described the Philippines’ democratic system as “elite,” meaning that power is controlled by the few influential, and usually moneyed, personalities.

But this did not stop some folk who, despite being overshadowed by giants in the political arena, took a shot a candidacy for the highest post in the land in pursuit of the change they want to be and see in the country.

Among them is fitness and finance coach Dave Aguila, who was one of the first people to file their certificates of candidacy when the Commission on Elections started accepting them on Friday.

His platforms, posted on his Facebook page, are heavy on health and fitness and include the abolition of all mandatory protocols proven to prevent COVID-19 which he claims to be "scientifically disputed globally by infectious disease experts, doctors, etc. who are not in the payroll of big pharma."

Aguila's name has been appearing on anti-vaccine groups like the one that organized a September 18 protest at Liwasang Bonifacio against pandemic protocols. Some at the protest claimed COVID-19 is not real.

RELATED: Fact check: COVID-19 is real; vaccination not mandatory in Philippines

With the Philippines beginning its colorful election season under the cloud of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was still the top of mind of some presidential hopefuls, like Jose Montemayor of the Democratic Party of the Philippines and Leysander Ordenas who introduced himself as a “pandemic mitigator.”

Presidential aspirant Laurencio Yulaga, who introduced himself as an “international scientist” who supposedly graduated from Harvard University — his name does not appear among the American university's alumni —  also had COVID-19 in mind when he addressed the media after filing his candidacy, claiming a shocking cure for the disease — a deadly 10,000 volts of electricity.

Yulaga was flanked by his vice-presidential candidate, DWBL commentator Alexander Lague, who wants to stop poverty and eradicate corruption in government by constructing gender-inclusive comfort rooms in all barangays in the Philippines.

Yulaga and Lague both hail from the Philippine Green Republican Party, which has attempted several times to field candidates for Malacañang. Their bets were eventually dismissed by the Comelec as nuisance bets.

Victoriano Inte, who previously tried to run for the Senate in 2019 but was declared a nuisance bet, also has his eyes set on Malacañang, as he criticized its current occupant over his brutal campaign against drugs.

"Maraming buhay na natokhang, tokhang doon, tokhang dito, tokhang," Inte said, in reference to Oplan Tokhang which saw thousands of drug suspects killed. "Buhay (Life) is important."

Independent presidential candidate Edmundo Rubi, meanwhile, was nostalgic for the yesteryears of the dictatorial Marcos regime, under which he claimed that the Philippines was the “number one nation in Asia,” even though the country’s economy then tanked due to the massive plunder of government coffers.

Rubi said he can lead the country to prosperity by prioritizing senior citizens and giving them free electricity, free housing and retirement income. He also wants to hand out P5,000 every month to every Filipino, provide free education and free hospitalizations.

Under election laws, the Comelec can, on its own or by a petition by an interested party, refuse to give due course or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that it was filed to “put the election process in mockery or disrepute,” if it would cause confusion among due to the similarity of names of other candidates, or if the person clearly has no intention to run for office.

The Comelec will finalize the list of candidates in November. Until then, the question remains: Will these presidential hopefuls pass the poll body’s scrutiny or will they be relegated as nuisance candidates?

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