Philippines' presidential candidate Roxas wants namesake disqualified

Philippines' presidential candidate Roxas wants namesake disqualified
PHOTO: Reuters

WHAT'S in a name?

It means a lot, especially if the country's presidency is at stake.

Liberal Party presidential standard-bearer Mar Roxas on Wednesday asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare as nuisance candidate a namesake, Manuel Antonio Roxas, who also wants to be the country's next president.

Roxas, whose full name is Manuel Araneta Roxas II, said his namesake filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) for president to create confusion among voters through the similarity of their names and nicknames.

"To allow [respondent] to continue with his candidacy for President would make a mockery of the upcoming elections for the 16th President of the Philippines," he said in his nine-page petition.

"Respondent Manuel Antonio Roxas must therefore be declared the nuisance candidate as defined under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, rules and jurisprudence," Roxas said.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, the Comelec "may motu proprio or upon a verified petition of an interested party, refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy if it is shown that said certificate has been filed to put the election process in mockery or disrepute or to cause confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates or by other circumstances or acts, which clearly demonstrate that the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for the office."

Roxas pointed at the "suspicious" COC entries of "Mar Roxas" as having answered "5, Diamond St., QC" in the provincial address; "for President of the Philippines" in the address for election purposes; varying spelling of his name from "Mannuel" to "Manuel" in the same COC; and the absence of any proof of identification in the notarial portion of the COC.

To make matters worse, the namesake claimed that his nickname or stagename is Manny Mar Roxas, the former Interior Secretary said.

Roxas alleged that allowing his namesake "Mar Roxas" to run for President will result in their names being placed next to each other in the official ballots to be used.

"This will very well lead to confusion such that voters may unintentionally vote for respondent Manuel Antonio Roxas," said Roxas.

The names of the official candidates are usually printed in the official ballots for the May 2016 polls in alphabetical order.

"Clearly, by claiming that his stagename or nickname is Manny Mar Roxas, respondent intends to confuse the public into believing that he and the petitioner is one and the same person," Roxas said.

Roxas claimed that the name "Mar Roxas" had always been associated with him from the time that he was first elected as member of the House of Representatives in 1993 until when he ran for Vice President in 2010.

He also pointed that he has been popularly known as "Mar Roxas" in the various government posts he had held, the latest of which was as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

"This popular nickname has always been associated with the petitioner, Manuel Araneta Roxas. The media, if not the general public has always referred to the petitioner as 'Mar Roxas,'" said the petition.

Roxas also claimed that his namesake appears to have no known means to wage a national campaign for the said position.

"Finally, without casting aspersions on respondent, the manner by which his COC has been filled out and his appropriation of the nickname of petitioner, show that he has no bona fide intention to run for President," said Roxas.

Roxas and his namesake were among the 130 aspirants who filed their COCs for president at the Comelec last week.

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