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‘Unopposed candidates bad for government’ — Atienza

/ 07:22 AM May 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The large number of candidates running unopposed in Monday’s elections betrays the country’s “dysfunctional” democracy, according to a party list lawmaker.

“Having a lone candidate for an elective post is bad for voters who are left with no choice,” Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said in a statement issued on the eve of the midterm polls.

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“It is also bad for government and for our system of checks and balance, and bad for our political parties as well.”

Commission on Elections (Comelec) records showed at least 35 unopposed congressional candidates nationwide.

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Atienza, a former Manila mayor, counted 34, excluding the lone district of San Juan City, owing to the recent disqualification of actor Edu Manzano over citizenship issues and potentially leaving only the incumbent, Ronaldo Zamora, on the ballot.

Manzano said he would file an appeal.

At least 210 candidates are unopposed in mayoral races while more than 260 are in uncontested vice mayoral races, according to Comelec records.

Atienza, the House senior deputy minority leader, lamented the dearth of electoral alternatives in those places, saying the lack of competition meant the absence of freedom of choice.

“Just like in business, competition is absolutely necessary to provide consumers—in this case, voters—greater freedom to choose, and to encourage fair play,” he said.

“What is happening now is that many candidates are just negotiating among themselves, with the stronger ones usually buying out their weaker rivals,” Atienza said.

He called for a return to the two-party system, in which only two major political parties would dominate governance.

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“As long as we have at least two dominant parties all the time, it is OK to have multiple political parties,” Atienza said. —DJ Yap

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TAGS: 2019 elections, Comelec, Lito Atienza, unopposed candidates
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