|VICE PRESIDENT Jejomar Binay and Sen. Gregorio Honasan are the first to file their COCs for president and vice president at the Comelec in Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila
By ALFRED G. GABOT and CLAIRE MORALES TRUE
MANILA, October 15, 2015 (PHLSTODAY) – As the filing of certificates of candidacy (CoCs started on Monday, Oct. 12, and ends on Oct. 16 with some 200 days to go before the May 9, 2016 elections, election fever turned into festive mood as candidates for some 18,000 positions from the President down to councilor troop to the Commission Elections offices nationwide with their supporters, some accompanied by stars and bands.
Vice President Jesus Jose Maria “Jejomar” Binay, erstwhile leader in surveys, was the first to file his CoC for president, together with his runningmate, Sen. Gregorio Honasan, early Monday after attending mass at the San Agustin church and a “boodle fight” in a nearby barangay. Once an ally and Cabinet member of outgoing President Aquino, Binay is now leading the opposition under the party United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Binay, a lawyer, a former mayor and Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority and a prominent anti-Marcos rallyist, vowed to push the country to greater growth and development if given the chance to serve as president.
At press time on Thursday, October 15, 56 others have already filed their CoCs for president and the number could swell as Liberal Party (LP) candidate Manuel Roxas II and Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, the other major candidates for president, were poised to formally file their CoCs at the Comelec headquarters at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros. Roxas will run in tandem with Rep. Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo while Sen. Francis Escudero will be Poe’s runningmate.
Other presidential candidates expected are Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago who belatedly announced her candidacy and possibly former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada even as popular Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte declared he was withdrawing from the race. Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte Carpio, a lawyer and former mayor of Davao City, and several followers shaved their heads on Wednesday to convince the elder Duterte to run for president.
Joining the skinhead trend are Duterte’s executive assistant Lawrence “Bong” Go, Councilors Al Ryan Alejandre and Danilo Dayanghirang.
Alejandre also confirmed barangay captains and other incumbent and former councilors will sport the new hairstyle. They are Councilors Louie John Bonguyan, Bong Advincula, Bernie Al-ag, Karlo Bello, and former councilor Dante Apostol.
Go confirmed in a text message he shaved his hair in support to a possible presidential bid of Mayor Duterte.
In his Facebook account, Go posted his photo having a shaven head with a caption: “Getting ready for filing of my boss. Hoping for a miracle. Thanks to all.”
Alejandre said they shaved their hair as last ditch effort to encourage Duterte to run for president in next year’s elections.
While Duterte has already made it clear that he will not run for president, his supporters, including vice presidential hopefuls Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., are still hoping that he will change his mind on or before Friday, the last day of filing of COCs.
Earlier, Duterte said he was not inclined to seek the highest post in the country. He cited Sara’s opposition to it and even read his daughter’s letter telling him not to run for president because he does not owe anybody anything and that he has done enough for the country.
Some sources said Sara was amused that his father did not read her entire letter. She even answered a netizen’s comment calling her selfish with regard her father’s presidential bid
By press time on Tuesday, the second day of the filing of COCs, the poll body has tallied a total number of 57 presidential aspirants, with 11 others vying for the vice presidency, and 53 vying for the 12 senatorial posts. With so many candidates filing their COCs, Chairman Andres Bautista of the Commission on Elections said there was no need to extend the filing which ends on Friday, Oct. 16.
Aside from Binay, other prominent candidates for president are former Congressman and TESDA Director General Augusto Syjuco Jr., former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chairman Camilo Sabio, former San Francisco, California-based and US statehood lawyer Ely Velez Pamatong and Rizalito David, a former candidate for senator who filed a disqualification case against Sen. Poe.
Other presidential candidates are a retired Army general, David Alimorong, a pastor, a sultan, and a man who wants to turn the Philippines into a part of the United States.
Pamatong said if elected president, he will fight the claims of China over parts of the West Philippine Sea. To dramatize his plan, he torched a flag of China outside Comelec and submitted several books assailing China’s belligerence and bullying of the Philippines..
Presidential aspirant, Arturo Reyes, said he will have the Philippines annexed by the United States so the Asian archipelago would become an industrialized nation.
Enamored by the so-called “American Dream”, Reyes said one of his platforms is to “legalize the American four seasons winter, spring, summer, and fall, consistent with the school calendar, thereby eliminating the old dry and rainy seasons.”
Joining Senator Honasan in the vice presidential race are Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Nacionalista Party (NP) who filed accompanied by mother former First Lady now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos and other family members, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and unknowns Myrna Mamon; Albert Alba; Angelito Baluga; Nid Anima; and Rolando Tibayan.
The early filers for senators were former Senator and Philippine National Police chief Panfilo “Ping” Lacson who is an LP adopted candidate, Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares who was accompanied by his actress cousin Angel Locsin, who is Angelica Colmenares in real life; Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez of UNA who figured prominently during the super typhoon Yolanda rescue and rehabilitation, and ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Samuel Pagdilao, a former PNP official who is running under the ticket of Sen. Grace Poe like Colmenares.
Others who filed their COCs for senator were actress and Councilor Alma Moreno, chairman of the Philippine Councilors League, who was accompanied by son Vandolph and family members; Sen. Ralph Recto who was accompanied by his wife, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos; former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino, Princess Jacel Kiram, daughter of the late Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III of the Sulu Sultanate, who vowed to put back Sabah under the Philippines; former Sen. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Philhealth Director Risa Hontiveros, who is running for the third time; former Pampanga governor and TIEZA Director Mark Lapid, who filed accompanied by Sen. Manuel Lapid and actress wife Tanya Garcia.
Others who filed CoCs for senator were unknowns Angel Redoble, Ricky Bacolod, Daniel Magtira, Victoriano Inte, Elmar Santarin, Rafael Labindao, Jose Kwe, Armando Cortes, Ramon Osano, John O’Donnell, Eduardo Dela Pena, Melchor Chavez, Roberto Antonio Marin and Alexander Bautista, Godofredo Arquiza, Victor Quijano, Rolando Merano, Rodel Navarro, Ali Sharief, Edwin Salve and Raul Barbasa.
Malacanang said the high number of presidential aspirants for the 2016 national elections attests to the dynamism of the country’s democracy and reflects the desire of well-meaning Filipinos to actively participate in the electoral process.
“Come election time, we expect our bosses to exercise sound judgment in their selection of future leaders of the country,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., noting that according to the Constitution, any natural born citizen who is more than 40 years old may run for president.
“Sino naman tayo para humadlang sa pagnanais ng mga indibidwal na ialay ang sarili nila sa paglilingkod,” he said.
He however said that the Commission on Election (Comelec) follows a process to determine which candidates will be classified as nuisance candidates.
Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista, for his part, said he was convinced that the number of aspirants in the presidential seat only showed that there were many people who wanted to serve in the government.
“I see it positively kung baga mas maraming gusto magsilbi, sabi ko nga karapatan naman ng isang mamayan mag aspire for higher office,” he said.
Bautista added, “Need ibalance sa karapatan ng ating demokraysa na magkaron ng maayos na halalan. (Under) Omnibus Election Code, our election should not be made in mockery or placed ill repute.”
This developed as Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an arch critic of Vice President Binay, raised the possibility that the VP will drop out of the presidential elections and will be substituted by
in a coalition that will also include the camp of former President and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who is running for his third and final term in the second district of Pampanga.
Binay, who is facing charges of plunder, graft and corruption, however, has consistently said that he would not back out
from the 2016 presidential race.
“Yung ikinakalat nila na yung panlalait sa akin, kung anu-anong kasinungalingan ang itinatapon sa amin, hindi ito magiging dahilan para ako ay umatras,” Binay said.
Lawyer Rico Quicho, Binay’s spokesperson, said that Binay will push through with his presidential bid even calling Trillanes as Senator One-percent, referring to the latter’s ratings.
“Senator One-percent Trillanes may dream all day but the Vice President will pursue his candidacy anchored on a pro-poor platform. It is about time that poverty be squarely addressed through employment, good and quality education for the youth and proper healthcare,” he said
“Simula’t sapul sinasabi ko na, at some point, aatras itong si Vice President Binay so ako naniniwala pa rin diyan,” Trillanes said. “Ngayong naghahanap sila ng opening until December hanggang ma-finalize yung listahan ng official candidates, pwede yan, theoretically, yung substitution,” he said.
Although Mayor Estrada was set to file on October 14 his CoC for mayor, he announced he will run for president should opposition candidates Vice President Binay or Sen. Grace Poe is disqualified. In the mayoral race, Estrada will face former mayor Alfredo Lim and Rep. Amado Bagatsing, who is leading the race based on independent surveys.
“If Senator Grace Poe or Vice President Binay is disqualified, I will run for the presidency to maintain democracy in this country,” said Estrada who is running under his Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).
Estrada said Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso will replace him as mayoral candidate should be pursue the presidency. Substitution is allowed by Comelec until December 10.
David, who filed a quo warranto petition against Senator Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), said it is his duty as a Catholic to run for president.
David said his running has nothing to do with the quo warranto case he filed against Poe. He said he will let the Filipinos file a disqualification case against Poe should the latter file her COC for president later this week.
David was accompanied by his running mate, Albert Alba, during the filing of COC.
Another presidential candidate is farmer Alfredo Tindugan who declared he aspires to form a “divine government” as provided for by the 1935 Constitution instead of allowing the present one to continuously sell out the country to foreign nations.
Another presidential aspirant, Marita Arilla said she was looking to establish a government under “absolute monarchy” with “unlimited power from God”.
Missionary Romeo John Ygonia (aka Archangel Lucifer), meanwhile, said he wanted to run for president to follow his “Master”.
Former US-based lawyer Elly Pamatong filed his COC for president the third time. He was declared a nuisance candidate in the 2004 and 2010 polls.
Tricycle driver Eddie Llamas and Pastor Eric Negapatan are also seeking the presidential post.
Among the other presidential aspirants are Eprahim Defiño, 58, Federal Party, Mindanao; David Alimorong, Independent, Antipolo City; Ralph Masloff, 61, Independent, Cebu; Danilo Lihaylihay, 54, Independent; and Adolfo Inductivo, Independent.