MANILA, Philippines – The last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) on Friday, October 16, saw a number of controversial figures vying for national elective posts in the 2016 elections.
It was also a waiting game for supporters of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as they stayed at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila, until the last minute, hoping Duterte would show up to file his candidacy for president.
All in all, 130 individuals filed candidacies for president, 19 for vice president, and 172 for senator. Here’s the breakdown for Friday alone:
- President – 54
- Vice president – 4
- Senator – 89
One of the earliest aspirants – and probably the most surprising – was Getulio Napeñas, the dismissed chief of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF).
He filed his COC for senator past 8 am. The former SAF commander promised to seek justice for the 44 elite cops slain in the Mamasapano encounter while pursuing international terrorists. He said he would advocate peace and security.
He will be running under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party of Vice President Jejomar Binay. Napeñas said VP Binay was the first to give honors to the slain cops after the bloody encounter.
Former military general Jovito Palparan, who is currently detained, is also hoping to win a Senate seat. His son JC filed his father’s COC on Friday.
Palparan, tagged by human rights activists as “The Butcher,” was arrested in 2014. He is accused of ordering the torture, rape, and execution of two University of the Philippines students.
Miriam: ‘Marcoses don’t owe us apology’
Many welcomed Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s 3rd presidential bid when she first announced it on Tuesday, but she was quickly hounded by criticism days later over her choice of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr as running mate.
Santiago filed her COC around 2 pm Friday. She then entertained reporters’ questions, some of which were on the Martial Law regime of her running mate’s father and namesake, former President Ferdinand Marcos.
“I do not think that on a family basis, the Marcoses, as a family, owe us an apology,” she said, explaining that the decisions made back then were not made by the Marcos family but by President Marcos and his advisers.
Also joining the growing number of presidential aspirants is OFW Family Club party-list representative Roy Señeres, a former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
Señeres vowed to end contractualization of employees, arguing that it is against the Constitution. If elected president, Señeres said he would immediately issue an executive order providing security of tenure to employees.
Duterte-Cayetano still alive?
A 3rd Nacionalista Party (NP) senator has formally joined the vice presidential race: Alan Peter Cayetano, who will be running as an independent candidate.
Cayetano, who ranks 4th in the latest vice presidential preference polls, said he wanted to redefine the vice presidency and “push for true change”.
Like the crowd outside the Comelec office, Cayetano was also hoping to see Duterte in the presidential derby.
The Comelec stopped accepting COCs at 5 pm with no Duterte or any authorized representative in sight. But in an apparent extension of the waiting game, a party mate of Duterte filed a COC for president.
Martin Diño of the PDP-Laban party was among the buzzer-beaters on Friday. Under Comelec rules, a candidate under a party may withdraw and be substituted by another member of the same party.
Crowded Senate race
The Senate race got more crowded and interesting with lots of familiar faces, new names, and returning bets locking in their candidacies on Friday.
Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao is now gunning for a higher post. The world-renowned boxer was greeted by supporters as he filed his COC for senator under the UNA ticket, promising to be the “fists of the poor” in the Senate.
With an anti-corruption platform, the former lawyer of pork barrel scam whistleblowers Levito Baligod will be running for senator as well. He will be an independent candidate, but said he is in talks with fellow senatorial aspirants Panfilo Lacson and Walden Bello to form a “group of independents.”
Bello’s COC was filed on Friday by a representative.
Meanwhile, presidential poll front runner Grace Poe and her running mate Senator Francis Escudero threw their support behind the senatorial candidacy of Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno, a popular actor and former Manila councilor.
OFW advocate Susan Ople pursued her second bid for a Senate seat. Running under the NP, Ople will be advocating a platform focusing on labor reforms and OFWs.
Seeking a return to the Senate, former senator Richard Gordon filed his COC, running under the Bagumbayan party.
In another surprise, Edu Manzano showed up at the Comelec office to formalize his senatorial bid. Manzano was accompanied by his children, including actor Luis Manzano.
Other notable aspirants for senator were former Interior secretary Rafael Alunan III, former National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council head Eduardo del Rosario, ex-Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption chair Dante Jimenez, and former Quezon City Representative Dante Liban.
Senate bets who lost in 2013 are taking their chances again in 2016: Greco Belgica, broadcaster Rey Langit, and the last-ever COC filer, Ramon Montano.
A total of 210 organizations seek to join the 2016 party-list race, with 3 of them beset as factionalism and thus submitted more than one set of nominees each. – Michael Bueza, Katerina Francisco, and Jee Y. Geronimo/Rappler.com
Check out who are running for national and local positions:
LIST: Aspirants for 2016 elections