Nuisance candidates-A A +A
Monday, October 15, 2012
“WHEN will government cease being a nuisance to everybody,” asked American modernist poet Charles Olson.
But the government can also ask the same of citizens who want to join its ranks. Let’s start with the mayors wannabes. Who are the nuisance candidates?
Here in Bacolod, perhaps we can start with fruit vendor Julius Soriano Sayson of Bgy. Granada, who at the last minute filed his certificate of candidacy for Bacolod mayor. Sayson will contest the post against Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson of the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Grupo Progeso and former Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, an independent candidate.
“Judge me not based on my status or my family name, not on my age or my looks neither based on my capacity to spend millions during election day. However, judge me based on my vision for Bacolod and my aspiration to contribute something good for our city,” Julius eloquently said.
Spoken like a true politician—lofty motherhood statements that could mean something but could indicate nothing. Jude Sayson and Puentevella could well have said the same thing.
The other Sayson insisted that his tocayo rival is linked to Puentevella’s camp. The Vice Mayor charged that Julius was accompanied by a certain “Rosalie,” when he filed his COC. “Rosalie” is allegedly the secretary of former Granada Barangay Captain Sally Sombilla, a supporter of Puentevella.
Comelec Resolution No. 8678, described a nuisance candidate as someone who puts the “election process in mockery or disrepute; cause[s] confusion among the voters by the similarity of names of registered candidates; or one who has no bona fide intention to run for the office.”
Indeed, the qualifications that the Philippine Constitution imposes are the requirements of age, citizenship, residence requirements, and minimum age.
According to the Supreme Court decision (Salcedo II v. Comelec, 312 SCRA 447, August 16, 1999), a candidate who used a surname which was not intended to mislead or deceive the public as to her identity is not considered a violation of Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code. The Court also noted that the private respondent had used her surname for several years before the election in her business papers.
But how can the Vice Mayor disprove Julius’s“bona fide intention” to run for office? Lawyer Marco Lionel Castillano, Cebu provincial election supervisor, explained that “A candidate should be willing to campaign. He or she should not just decide to run and then hide inside their houses, without intent to win or launch a campaign.”
Castillano added: “There are many ways to run an election campaign that does not necessarily mean spending huge amounts of money.” A candidate can campaign through the media, internet, and social media such as Facebook.
A quick check on their Facebook accounts showed two contrasting yet similar accounts. Neither of them is on my list of Facebook “friends, by the way.
The Vice Mayor has an active account, very open to the public. It shows plenty of pictures, but none discussing platforms of government and accomplishments on their bragging rights. Interactivity with target constituents is very low. In other words, safe, non-controversial social media.
On the other hand, Julius’s has its privacy settings set to high that barely enough pictures let alone platforms of government are shown. But to be fair with Julius, so is Puentevella’s Facebook. If there’s one thing in common with all three’s Facebook accounts, I find them all specious and boring.
I find their Facebook accounts annoying and brainless. No discussions on the issues of solid waste, enforcement of the plastic ban, increase in criminality in the provincial capital, for starters. Their lack of anything substantial in their social media is what I would call the presence of nuisance candidates.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 15, 2012.