LAWYER Angelo de Alban, a University faculty member, has appealed to the Supreme Court to allow him to run for the Senate in the 2019 midterm polls, after he was declared a “nuisance” candidate by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Comelec identified de Alban as among the 13 bets lacking the financial capacity to mount a nationwide campaign. Only 63 candidates made the cut.

In a petition filed in October of last year, Comelec questioned de Alban’s intention to run for senator and his capacity “to sustain the financial rigors of waging a nationwide campaign.”

De Alban, a former Varsitarian writer, said he had filed a motion before the high court, saying the Comelec’s first division committed a “grave abuse of discretion” by rejecting his bid for the Senate.

“It is unfortunate that the Comelec preempted the highest court by releasing a second list and conditioning the public. We are praying that the [Supreme Court] will issue a TRO (temporary restraining order) to include my name again,” said de Alban in a text message.

He said Comelec did not give a definite timeline in finalizing its ruling, which has delayed the process.

“We are prepared to elevate the matter to the highest court in order to settle once and for all this unreasonable and discriminating label of nuisance candidate,” de Alban added.

In December of 2018, Comelec’s law department originally declared 95 candidates as “nuisance” for lacking the financial capability to run a nationwide campaign.

Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code defines “nuisance” candidates as those who make a mockery out of the election process, cause confusion among voters by using similar names with other candidates, and have no bona fide intention to run for the office.

Should he be allowed to run and win a seat, de Alban said he would focus on education, health, agriculture and housing.

Political analyst Ramon Casiple said joining a political party could have helped de Alban avoid the said disqualification.

“A candidate may be disqualified on the basis of being a nuisance candidate [that is if he does] not have a campaign machinery, financial capacity or physical ability to mount a campaign in the jurisdiction in which he plans to run. Usually, this is cured by being in a political party,” Casiple told the Varsitarian in an email interview.

UST economics alumnus and former solicitor general Florin Hilbay made it to the list under the Aksyon Demokratiko Party.

The UP law graduate, who helped win the government’s case over the West Philippine Sea in The Hague, said he would focus on improving the quality of education in the country and defending the Constitution from attempts to be amended.

The midterm elections, to be held on May 13, will fill seats in the Senate, the House of Representatives and local governments.

The official campaign period for senatorial candidates and partylist groups will begin on Feb. 12 while the period for local bets will start on March 29.


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