FORMER Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Sunday called the attention of the Commission on Elections on the “serious violation” it might have committed when it allowed the printing of the official ballots with the names of the presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Leni Robredo appended with the “Daang Matuwid,” the campaign slogan of the ruling Liberal Party.
Larrazabal said the use of the phrase “Daang Matuwid” as part of Roxas and Robredo’s names and some candidates that appear on the official ballot violates Comelec Resolution 9984.
He made his statement even as Malacañang welcomed the report that the Comelec had finished printing the ballots to be used during the May 9 elections ahead of the deadline.
“We welcome the news that the Comelec has finished the printing of 56.9 million ballots within 49 days, or 18 days ahead of schedule,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. told the state-run dzRB.
Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista, meanwhile, said they were scheduled to conduct a transmission readiness test later this month in different parts of the country to make sure the system that would be used to transmit the voting results was trustworthy.
He said they were already finalizing the details on the transmission readiness test.
“We will have this transmission readiness test which, I think, will happen in the second part of April,” Bautista said.
Larrazabal said Comelec rules provide that “unless there was an official change of name through a court-approved proceeding, an aspirant shall use in the COC: (1) the name registered in the Office of the Local Civil Registrar; (2) the name by which such aspirant has been baptized; or (3) any other name under the provisions of existing law or in the case of a Muslim, a Hadji name after performing the prescribed religious pilgrimage.
“However, when there are two or more aspirants for an office with the same name and surname, each aspirant shall need to state a paternal and maternal surname, except the incumbent who may continue to use the name and surname stated in the COC when last elected,” Larrazabal said.
He said an aspirant may include one nickname or stage name by which the aspirant was generally or popularly known in their locality “provided that, no aspirant shall use the nickname or stage name of another. Only one nickname or stage name shall be considered.”
“In the ballot for the 2016 elections, the phrase “Daang Matuwid” as part of their respective names of some candidates appeared on the official ballot. If you read the rules, the nickname to be used by the candidates is limited to “one nickname or stage name by which aspirant is generally or popularly known in their locality,” he said.
“A campaign slogan is not a nickname. However, “Daang Matuwid” is a campaign slogan and not a nickname. And it cannot be used by two different persons. “Daang matuwid,” or “Tuwid na daan,” is this administration’s driving force,” he noted.