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By Vince Alvic A. F. Nonato, Reporter

Poll body releases initial list of candidates

Posted on January 22, 2016

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) released on Thursday the initial list of national candidates for the 2016 elections, a draft roster that includes aspirants who are still appealing the cancellation of their certificates of candidacy.

The preliminary list has eight candidates for president, six for vice-president and 52 for senator (vying for 12 seats).

The eight candidates for president include Vice-President Jejomar C. Binay (listed in the prospective ballot as Binay, Jojo UNA), Senator Miriam D. Santiago (Defensor Santiago, Miriam PRP), former Interior Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II (Roxas, Mar Daang Matuwid LP) and OFW Family Club Party-list Rep. Roy V. Señeres, Sr. (Señeres, Roy WPPPMM).

The list also includes Davao City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte (Duterte, Rody PDPLBN) and Senator Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares (Poe, Grace IND) -- aspirants who perform well in preference surveys but who nevertheless face questions regarding the validity of their candidacies.

Mr. Duterte faces four cases before the Comelec seeking the cancellation of his certificate of candidacy, with petitioners questioning if he can substitute anti-crime advocate Martin B. Diño when he allegedly failed to file a valid certificate of candidacy (CoC).

Ms. Poe’s CoC, meanwhile, was denied on Dec. 1 and 11 after two Comelec divisions ruled she misrepresented her citizenship and residency requirements. After losing an appeal on Dec. 23, she elevated the case before the Supreme Court and won a temporary restraining order stopping the poll body from enforcing its resolutions.

The SC has scheduled oral arguments on Ms. Poe’s case next week, and Comelec Spokesperson James Arthur B. Jimenez said Wednesday that the poll body may have to retain her name on the ballot if the case remains unresolved next month.

Aside from these prominent politicians, two lesser-known candidates made it to the list. Romel C. Mendoza (Mendoza, Mel PMP), who wrote “assistant project officer” as his job on his CoC, is the candidate of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino party of former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph E. Estrada, while Dante C. Valencia (Valencia, Dante IND) is a civil engineer running as an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, the six vice-presidential candidates are: senators Alan Peter S. Cayetano (Cayetano, Alan Peter IND), Francis Joseph G. Escudero (Escudero, Chiz IND), Gregorio B. Honasan II (Honasan, Gringo UNA), Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. (Marcos, Bongbong IND) and Antonio F. Trillanes IV (Trillanes, Antonio IV IND); as well as Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Maria Leonor G. Robredo (Robredo, Leni Daang Matuwid LP).

The list also contains 52 candidates vying for 12 senate seats.

The Comelec arrived at this list after sifting through CoCs filed in October: 130 by candidates for president, 19 for vice-president and 172 for senatorial seats. The list also included 120 party-list groups vying for 59 seats in the House of Representatives.

The Comelec said that the initial list is posted online to enable candidates to check how their names would appear on the official ballot, and is thus still subject to change. Written requests for correction should be submitted to Comelec. The list is also “subject to the outcome of the various cases/issues pending before the Commission.” Such candidates may be stricken off the list if these cases are resolved in time for the Comelec to finalize the list and begin printing ballots on Feb. 1.

A total of 18,083 national and local positions are up for grabs for the 2016 elections.