Seems like Comelec is guilty of favoritism; “Daang Matuwid” is not a nickname says COMELEC Resolution No. 9984

The use of “Daang Matuwid” by Mar Roxas as a nickname on the official ballot should not have been allowed by the Comelec according to a former Comelec Commissioner.

Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal

Credits to Getty Images

Former Comelec Commissioner Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal issued the dissenting statement after the netizens created an online uproar in the heels of the discovery of the controversial nickname “Daang Matuwid” in the official ballot.

‘Daang Matuwid’ is the slogan of LP and not the real nicknames of Roxas and Robredo.

The “Daang Matuwid” nickname controversy appeared to have been losing steam, until the former Comelec Commissioner issued the dissenting opinion on twitter.

It can be recalled that the Comelec spokesperson, James Jimenez issued a statement on twitter defending the position of the COMELEC of allowing Mar Roxas and his running mate to use “Daang Matuwid” as their nicknames during the filing of their respective certificate of candidacy. You may check the statement posted by the Comelec spokesperson on twitter below.

The netizens expressed anger, but could only withdraw in the sidelines to lick their wounds after receiving the official word that Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo did nothing wrong.

But let us pore over the statement made by Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal, former Comelec Commissioner to check if Roxas et al may legally use “Daang Matuwid” as a nickname.

The rules governing the filing of a candidates’ Certificate of Candidacy is contained in COMELEC Resolution No. 9984, specifically Rule 2, Sec. 4. Sec. 4 likewise provides for the specific restrictions as to how the name of the candidate’s should appear in the ballot. The rules provide:

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”. A campaign slogan is not a nickname. However, “Daang Matuwid” is a campaign slogan and not a nickname. Further, it cannot be used by two different persons.

But here’s the more interesting part: The Pnoy government may have committed, and up to now has been committing, an election offense for allowing Mar Roxas to use its slogan “Daang Matuwid.”

Here’s why!

Of note is the fact that when the government allowed candidates to use “Daang Matuwid” as part of their names on the ballot, and at the same time continued to use “Daang matuwid” or “Tuwid na daan” in all its announcements, tarpaulins, ads, etc., during the campaign period, the government may have committed, and up to now has been committing, an election offense.

Specifically, the government, or more properly, its officials and employees, may have to read Section 261 (o) of the Omnibus Election Code, which provides:

Sec. 261. Prohibited Acts. – The following shall be guilty of an election offense:

(o) Use of public funds, money deposited in trust, equipment, facilities owned or controlled by the government for an election campaign. – Any person who uses under any guise whatsoever, directly or indirectly, (1) public funds or money deposited with, or held in trust by, public financing institutions or by government offices, banks, or agencies; (2) any printing press, radio, or television station or audio-visual equipment operated by the Government or by its divisions, sub-divisions, agencies or instrumentalities, including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines; or (3) any equipment, vehicle, facility, apparatus, or paraphernalia owned by the government or by its political subdivisions, agencies including government-owned or controlled corporations, or by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for any election campaign or for any partisan political activity.

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