By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said that nobody should be prohibited from running just because they are not rich and famous for as long as they keep the sanctity of the elections.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after Senator Sherwin Gatchalian proposed to fine “nuisance candidates” who are not serious about running and are unable to launch a viable campaign, and for wasting the resources of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
In his press briefing Thursday, Panelo said that every Filipino should be allowed to run for public office as long as they respect the election process.
“You cannot just disqualify people on the basis of just because they are not rich, or they are not known. There has to be a basis,” he said.
“The basis is whether or not they are using the electoral process to make a mockery of it, or to destroy the chances of other candidates having the same name, for instance, just to confuse the electorate,” he added.
The Comelec, Panelo noted, still has the power to disqualify any candidate who will not pass through the standards and qualifications set by the poll body, and imposed by law.
Gatchalian urged to hasten the passage of Senate Bill 911 which seeks to hold “nuisance candidates” liable for election offenses, citing the number of such candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) for the midterm elections this past week.
“Nakita naman natin ‘yong mga kumandidato na alam mo namang hindi talaga seryoso… Sana naman ay hindi nila babuyin ‘yong proseso (We saw those who wanted to run but are not serious, I hope they do not disrespect the process),” he said.
Gatchalian cited those who claimed to be the former lovers of entertainer Mocha Uson and TV personality Kris Aquino, and a certain “Jesus Christ.”
“Natutuwa tayo na (We are happy that) we have a lot of people who want to be involved in nation-building by offering themselves to be public servants. Pero siyempre itong pagkakandidato ay (But running for public office is) subject to the limitations imposed by law and must take into account practical considerations,” he said.