Comelec postpones release of final list of candidates

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) admits having a difficult time deliberating Sen. Grace Poe’s cases.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines)—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) postponed the release of preliminary list of candidates for the 2016 polls.

Instead of finalizing the list on Tuesday (December 15), Comelec said it will come up with the list on December 23.

Chairman Andres Bautista said the original plan was to load the initial list of candidates into the “election management system” on Wednesday (December 16).

Napagkasunduan namin na siguro, mas maganda na i-delay natin nang konti yung pag-load nung initial data. So from December 16, we have delayed it for one week to December 23. And again, I want to emphasize, this is initial as opposed to a final list of candidates to be loaded,” Bautista said.

Bautista said the poll body needs to make a final list of candidates soon, as well as to finalize the layout of the ballots before they are printed.

But before that, the commission has yet to resolve a number of cases involving candidate substitutions and party-list accreditations. Aside from this, Comelec also continues to deliberate cases of presidential aspirants Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

According to Bautista, printing of ballots will begin on mid-January, and a list should be on hand by January 8.

He adds, if push comes to shove, candidates with pending cases will likely be included in the list.

Poe’s cases difficult

The poll body admits having a difficult time deliberating Poe's cases, seeking to block her candidacy for president.

Chairman Bautista said he and the six commissioners have been meeting to discuss the matter for six days already, and that they are again set to meet on Wednesday (December 16).

Bautista said it is imperative that they arrive at a decision.

The commission en banc is currently deliberating on the appeals filed by Poe and by lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

The chairman also said the Comelec expects another appeal from Poe over a recent decision on three other cases blocking her candidacy.

According to Bautista, they decided not to consolidate the cases, but they will resolve them as soon as possible.

Binabalanse namin eh. Tinitimbang namin. On the one hand, of course, we want to be speedy, quick, in respect of coming out with the decision because we also know that regardless of what decision we make, chances are, it would be brought to the supreme court. But on the other hand, we also want to make sure that whatever we say naman is substantive,” Bautista said.

Nakakahiya din naman sa ating korte suprema, sa ating taumbayan kung kami’y magsusulat lang ng kung anu-ano eh. So kailangan pinag-iisipan din. Of course nagre-research din ang aming mga opisina at kami mismo, syempre,” the chairman added.

Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said discussing the appeals on the cases is just as difficult as coming up with the first decisions.

“Since this is a motion for reconsideration, even the members of the division, second division, are still studying. Of course, as you know, a motion for reconsideration is just as difficult as the first decision because we are being required to think about it again, to study it again.”

Two divisions of the poll body have already ruled to cancel Poe’s candidacy over material representations she made in her certificate of candidacy.

They ruled that Poe lied about her citizenship, her residency— or both.