Chavez vs Chavez
- Jose Aravilla () - February 19, 2004 - 12:00am
Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials got a glimpse of election violence yesterday as protagonists in a disqualification case nearly exchanged blows right in front of them at the case’s resolution.

Melchor Chavez, who ran and lost in the 2001 senatorial race, and Buenaventura Miranda, the lawyer for senatorial candidate and former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez got into a staredown in what seemed to be the prelude to fisticuffs until police officers were called in to separate the two.

Before that, Chavez and Miranda exchanged curses, based on their respective accounts, when interviewed by reporters.

Chavez was disqualified yesterday by the Comelec’s first division on the grounds that he was a nuisance candidate. This was backed by the former solicitor general, who believes the other Chavez’s candidacy may sow confusion among voters.

Melchor Chavez was disqualified for not having the political machinery and finances for mounting a nationwide campaign. In the 2001 elections, Melchor Chavez reportedly got a mere 244,000 votes out of 12 million votes cast.

The deliberation was made in a room behind the Comelec session hall, away from the view of reporters. However, the melee became apparent when police personnel were frantically waved into the room by Comelec employees.

Miranda said he blew his top when Melchor Chavez, who claims to be a veteran radio anchor, let out a curse word directed at him and stood up in apparent frustration over his disqualification. Miranda admitted that, in response, he challenged Melchor Chavez to a fight outside Comelec premises.

Melchor Chavez said he felt insulted when Miranda asked him if he would still appeal the Comelec first district’s verdict in a mocking tone of voice. These words from Miranda, he said, forced him to act.

The two left the Comelec 15 minutes apart.

In a press statement, Francisco Chavez thanked the Comelec "for its timely decision to disqualify (Melchor) Chavez. This paves the road for a smooth campaign for me."

It will be recalled that Melchor Chavez spoiled Francisco Chavez’s 1992 senatorial bid, when the former ran under the Liberal Party ticket but was belatedly declared a nuisance candidate by the Supreme Court. "I would have won then were it not for the millions of ballots declared as spoiled because they only carried the name Chavez."

Francisco Chavez, a Reporma-LM candidate for the Senate is running on the ticket of the Alyansa ng Pag-Asa.

BUENAVENTURA MIRANDA CHAVEZ CHAVEZ AND MIRANDA COMELEC FRANCISCO CHAVEZ LIBERAL PARTY MELCHOR MELCHOR CHAVEZ MIRANDA SOLICITOR GENERAL FRANCISCO CHAVEZ SUPREME COURT
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