|THE LATE PRESIDENT MANUEL ROXAS and grandson former DILG Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas II.|
By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES
MANILA (PHLTODAYUSA) — What’s in a name?
It matters especially when your name is Manuel Roxas.
The late Manuel Roxas was a former president of the Philippines.
Manuel Roxas, the Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate who was annointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as his successor, is a grandson of the late President Roxas.
Now, the candidate Manuel Araneta Roxas II or Mar, has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare a fellow presidential bet, Manuel Antonio Roxas whose nickname is also “Mar” as a nuisance candidate.
If LP’s Mar does not succeed in the Comelec, this may doom his candidacy as votes for him or the other Mar maybe invalidated.
Mar of LP and the other Mar are two of the 130 individuals who filed their certificate of candidacy for president during the October 12 to 16 filing for the May 9, 2016 elections.
The big number of candidates for president could be attributed to the fact that there is no law restricting the filing of CoC. As such, the Comelec has no choice but to receive all applications or CoCs.
The poll body, however, has the mandate afterwards to invalidate the CoCs of individuals who are proven to be nuisance candidates.
Already, the law department of Comelec has started studying all the 130 CoCs and initial results could lead to approval of only five of the 130 presidential aspirants.
For one, the CoC of one of the two Manuel Roxas could be one of the 125 which would be voided.
The LP’s Mar Roxas, in fact, has petitioned the Comelec to do so.
In his Petition to Declare as a Nuisance Candidate, the former Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary believes that the respondent is only running in a bid to create confusion in the forthcoming May 2016 elections since they have similar nickname “Mar Roxas.”
“To allow respondent to continue with his candidacy for President would make a mockery of the upcoming elections for the 16th President of the Philippines,” said the eight-page petition of the LP standard bearer.
He added, “Respondent Manuel Antonio Roxas must therefore be declared the nuisance candidate as defined under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, Rules and Jurisprudence.”
The LP standard-bearer noted that the name “Mar Roxas” has always been associated with him since he was first elected as a member of the House of Representatives in 1993 until when he ran for vice president in 2010.
Likewise, he said that he has been popularly known as “Mar Roxas” in the various government posts he has held, the latest of which as secretary of the DILG.
“This popular nickname has always been associated with the petitioner, Manuel Araneta Roxas. The media, if not, the general public has always referred to the petitioner as ‘Mar Roxas’,” the petition said.
The administration’s presidential bet added that allowing “Mar Roxas” to run for president will result to their names being placed next to each other in the official ballots to be used.
“This will very well lead to confusion such that voters may unintentionally vote for respondent Manuel Antonio Roxas,” Roxas explained.
The former Interior and Local Government Secretary added that the respondent appears to have no known means to finance a national campaign.
“Finally, without casting aspersions on respondent, the manner by which his COC (certificate of candidacy) has been filled out and his appropriation of the nickname of petitioner, show that he has no bona fide intention to run for President,” the petitioner said.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, the Commission “may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts, which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office.”
The Law Department of the Comelec has filed motu proprio Petitions to Declare as Nuisance Candidates 125 individuals who filed their COCs for president; 13 for vice president; and 128 for senator.
With this, the Clerk of the Commission is set to call a preliminary conference to provide these individuals the opportunities to present their cases to the poll body on why they should not be declared nuisance candidates.
A total of 130 aspirants filed COCs for president; 19 for vice president; and 172 for senator during the five-day filing period from Oct. 12 to 16.
Even Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, who is leading the surverys for presidentiables, has been summoned by Comelec to appear before it and answer petitions seeking to disqualify her as candidate for president due to alleged lack of residency and reportedly for not being a natural born citizen.
The neophyte senator has stood firm that she is qualified to run for president as she is a natural born Filipino.