By Charles Dantes | Manila Standard
Ten presidential candidates, including former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., remain on the national ballot for the upcoming elections in May, the Commission on Elections said Tuesday.
“We already have what the ballot will look like with all of the names that will be included in the final ballot. Yes, the name of Bongbong Marcos is there,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a television interview.
Rounding up the list are Vice President Leni Robredo, Senators Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, labor leader Leody de Guzman, former presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, former Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Faisal Mangondato and Jose Montemayor Jr.
“The people who are left on the ballot cannot be considered nuisance candidates because they’re able to show they have legitimate intention to run for office,” Jimenez said.
The names of nine vice presidential aspirants, 64 senators, and 178 party-list groups will be included in the ballot, which will be printed back-to-back.
In a presentation shown during the virtual walk-through of the National Printing Office (NPO) in Quezon City on Tuesday, Comelec printing committee vice chairperson Helen Aguila said a total of 67,442,714 ballots will be printed – of which 1,697,202 are for overseas voting.
Aguila said the printing of the ballots is expected to be finished in April, including the buffer period.
“The buffer period is incorporated there because if we are to compute based on the peak performance of the printers of NPO, the accumulative capacity is 1,100,000 per day if it is working in peak performance. We are realistic in anticipating contingencies including the COVID surge and infection of our workers, so until April 21 that includes the buffer period. Our buffer period is about two weeks or three weeks,” she added.
Meanwhile, Comelec chairperson Sheriff Abas reported that three printing machines will be used while another machine is put on standby.
“We have one new printer machine which we require for the 2022 polls. The three machines, we’ve used them in the 2019 elections. We have four available machines,” he said.
For its part, Malacañang on Tuesday expressed hope that all registered voters will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in time for the May 9 polls.
Nograles said the national government is aiming to fully vaccinate 77 million Filipinos—including voters—by the first quarter of the year.
“Before April or even May, we want our adult population to be fully vaccinated. That way, it would be an additional protection for voters,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
Aside from getting their COVID-19 jabs, Nograles said voters should also continue adhering to minimum public health standards in polling precincts.
“The vaccine is one layer of protection, but adherence to minimum public health standards provides 90 percent protection from the virus,” he added.