Jimenez says accepting unqualified candidates is ‘ministerial’
After the Commission on Elections (Comelec) suspended the proclamation of over-aged candidates in the 2018 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, its spokesperson James Jimenez said that the commission cannot do anything about unqualified candidates as it is their mandate to accept Certificate of Candidacy (COC).
“Here’s the thing about the Philippine electoral system that a lot may not understand: accepting a Certificate of Candidacy is ministerial to the Comelec. Ministerial means we have no choice in the matter,” Jimenez said in an interview with Inquirer.net.
“If a dog tried to file a COC, and somehow, were able to insist that it be accepted, the election officer would have to receive it because it is ministerial,” he added.
In a previous report, Comelec Chairman Al Parreño said that Comelec would suspend the proclamation of 1,000 candidates who violated the age limit for SK candidates, in case they would win.
“We initiated disqualification cases against them, so now, what happened is these people are running (for public office), but we’ve already made a ruling that they’re disqualified,” Jimenez said.
“What the commission essentially did is it pre-emptively suspended their proclamation, if these people win, they will not be proclaimed… if they don’t win, then nothing lost.”
Merely a governing body
When asked if Comelec, or a bill filed in Congress, can provide a solution to the problem, Jimenez said that Comelec’s nature as a poll-governing body is in the way.
“The characterization of Comelec’s work is what you have to address. The reason that particular concept is running into a lot of opposition is [that] it gives Comelec the right to decide who runs and who doesn’t,” Jimenez said.
“The right to run, which is the twin of the right to vote, that should not be up for the Comelec to decide.
He added that voting or running for public offices is a constitutional grant that the Comelec cannot interfere with.
“Kung ang Comelec ay may karapatang magsabing hindi ka pwedeng tumakbo, para na ring sinabi ng Comelec na ikaw, hindi ka pwedeng bumoto. Ang kaya lang gawin ng Comelec gawin ay sabihin na ikaw, hindi ka pwedeng bumoto dito, or hindi ka pwedeng bumoto ngayon,” he said.
(If Comelec has the right to say you cannot run; it is like Comelec saying you cannot vote. What the Comelec can only do is to say you cannot vote here or you cannot vote now.) /jpv/ac
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