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Senatorial aspirant secures halt order vs Comelec disqualification

Senatorial aspirant secures halt order vs Comelec disqualification

MANILA, Philippines — A senatorial aspirant for the 2022 national polls secured a halt order from the Supreme Court to enjoin the Commission on Elections resolution declaring him as a nuisance candidate, just as the poll body gears up for the printing of ballots for the coming elections.

The SC en banc issued a Temporary Restraining Order to keep the poll body from enforcing its resolutions dated Dec. 13, 2021 and Jan. 3, 2022 that declared Norman Cordero Marquez a nuisance candidate and cancelled his Certification of Candidacy for senator, and denied his appeal, respectively.

The high court gave the Comelec a non-extendible period of ten days from receipt of notice to comment on the Petition for Review of Marquez.

Deputy Clerk of Court En Banc Anna-Li Papa-Gombio, following authority given by Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo, signed the TRO issuance.

It is unclear how the issuance of the halt order will affect the printing of the official ballots for the polls that is set to tentatively start on January 20.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez on Tuesday said that for national posts, the ballot will contain 10 names for presidential candidates, nine for vice president and 64 for senators.

Comeelc Commissioner Rowena Guanzon also said in a tweet that 177 party-list groups will be printed on the ballot.

In its latest tentative list posted by the Comelec on January 18, Marquez’s name was excluded from the list of senatorial candidates.

When he filed his COC in October 2018, Marquez said he will represent hog raisers and animal lovesr in the Senate.

2019 SC case on nuisance candidates

In 2019, a certain “Norman Cordero Marquez” also sought to join in the 2019 midterm elections but was excluded from the polls after the Comelec cancelled his COC.

The SC Public Information Office could not confirm if the Marquez that secured the TRO on January 19 is the same Marquez who won in the SC en banc ruling in 2019. The circumstances of the two petitioners are similar, however.

In the 2019 SC case, the Comelec Law Department, motu propio, filed a petition to declare him as nuisance candidate, arguing that he is “virtually unknown” across the country, and absent proof of financial capability, he “will not be able to sustain the financial rigors of a nationwide campaign” despite stating he is a real estate broker.

The Comelec’s First Division cancelled his COC, and the Commission En Banc also denied his appeal, prompting him to run to the SC.

The SC ruled on his petition on Sept. 3, 2019, months after the midterm elections, stating that while the case may be moot, it falls under the exception of “capable of repetition yet evading review.”

The SC en banc granted Marquez’s petition and held that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion in declaring him as a nuisance candidate for failure to prove financial capacity to mount a nationwide campaign.

The high court also said there is no textual support for the claim on the requirement of proof of financial capacity before an aspirant may be allowed to run in the national elections.

It added that the Comelec “cannot conflate the bona fide intention to run with a financial capacity requirement.” Kristine Joy Patag

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