Eight individuals made it to the initial list of presidential candidates that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) released Thursday afternoon. The draft ballot includes Senator Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whose respective candidacies are facing still-unsettled legal challenges.
The list also includes Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago of the People’s Reform Party, Mel Mendoza of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas of the ruling Liberal Party, OFW party-list Representative Roy Señeres, and businessman Dante Valencia. Meanwhile, Poe is running as an independent while Duterte is backed by PDP-Laban.
Poe’s candidacy is being challenged on the grounds that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen because she is a foundling and that she has not met the ten-year residency requirement set by the 1987 Constitution. The case is still pending before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, some individuals allege that Duterte must be disqualified from seeking the presidency because Martin Diño, the man he is seeking to substitute for, did not actually file a certificate of candidacy for president. Valencia, for his part, has previously been declared a nuisance candidate by COMELEC en banc.
Speaking to GMA News, COMELEC Commissioner Christian Robert Lim explained that if the pending disqualification cases against Duterte, Poe, and Valencia are not settled before February 1, then their names will appear in the ballots to be used for Election Day. The poll body has recently announced that the printing of ballots will begin on the said date.