THE camp of Liberal Party (LP) presidential bet Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III once again insisted that reconsidered presidential candidate Vetellano Acosta should be declared a nuisance candidate.
In a hearing conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc Friday, lawyer Sixto Brillantes, who appeared for Aquino, reiterated that Acosta was not officially nominated by the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) party.
The poll body earlier declared Acosta as a nuisance candidate but after receiving a certificate of nomination and acceptance on December 20, together with his motion for reconsideration, Comelec reconsidered his bid on January 14.
"Oppositor (Acosta) alleged that KBL is ready and will wage and sustain a campaign using the nationwide organization and network of the party and its officers and campaign workers," cited Resolution 8743.
Brillantes argued during the hearing that as per Resolution 9678, certificates of nomination and acceptance should be submitted on or before December 1.
The election lawyer added that there was no acceptance of the KBL nomination and it was not signed by Acosta.
"It is not a certification of nomination and acceptance. Why? Because there was no acceptance in the part of Mr. Acosta...He has never been and will never be the official candidate of KBL and so the error in the January 14 resolution is very clear," said Brillantes.
However, KBL chairman Vicente Millora, refuted Brillantes' accusation saying: "The allegation that there is no valid certificate of nomination is not correct... It was duly signed by the secretary general (of KBL)."
Ballot order effect
Earlier, Aquino's camp filed a motion to intervene before the poll body on January 15, a day after Acosta was allowed to run.
Aquino's petition cited that by allowing the supposed KBL bet to run, the number of votes he will gain will be affected since his name will be moved in the second spot next to Acosta.
Aquino's lawyers mentioned a "ballot order effect" study conducted in the University of Vermont proving that the first name appearing on the ballot will receive two-and-a-half percent extra votes than those lifted after.
"What right has Aquino to disqualify a candidate whose family name is ahead of him if alphabetically arranged?" argued Millora.
Brillantes furthered that Acosta did not file his certificate of candidacy (COC) personally.
Although this is allowed by the commission, an authorization letter should be submitted together with the COC. Brillantes said there was no such letter.
But Millora said that Acosta's COC, which was filed eight days before Aquino submitted his, was not meant to affect the candidacy of the LP presidentiable.
For his part, the KBL bet, who is pushing for economic stability, said he is running to "do something for the future of this country".
He said he did not plan to run and considered his bid for president as "accidental". "We did not talk about my candidacy. This happened all of a sudden," Acosta said.
Acosta was introduced for the first time to the commission during the hearing.
"He was just challenged to run because of what he has done for other countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam to use his 'sheer talent' for others," said Millora.
Commissioner Lucenito Tagle asked for some background information on the candidate through his lawyer.
Millora said that Acosta is an international financial expert and economist. His camp added that he is currently managing a reclamation project in Mactan and Lapu-Lapu, Cebu.
"He has presently a project in Cebu, a reclamation of 400 hectares, which has caused him to be busy in the last few days,” Millora said.
Acosta's camp also presented to the commission a copy of the candidate's bio-data but the college where he graduated from was not specified.
According to the KBL bet, he graduated from East Negros Bacolod College but a quick search of Sun.Star on the internet showed no results pointing to the location of the said school.
Former Comelec commissioners Regalado Maambong and Jaime Opinyon also appeared in behalf of Acosta. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)