SC: Unknowns, unaffiliated not nuisance bets

The poll body’s First Division on  13 December 2021, ruled  against Marquez  and  declared  him  a  nuisance  candidate,  holding  that  he had  the burden to prove and failed to show that he is ‘known well enough nationwide.’

September 11, 2022

The Supreme Court has ruled that unpopularity and non-membership in a political party are not sufficient grounds to declare one a nuisance candidate.

This was stated in a 20-page decision penned by Justice Amy C. Lazaro-Javier, the Supreme Court En Banc partly granted  the Petition for Certiorari filed  by Norman Cordero Marquez  assailing the Resolution of  the Commission on Elections  declaring  Marquez  a  nuisance  candidate and canceled  his Certificate of Candidacy for senator for the 9 May 2022 National  and  Local Elections.

Marquez’s prayer for the inclusion of his name in the official ballots, however, was declared moot with the conclusion of the 2022 Elections and the proclamation of the senators-elect.

On 1 October 2021, Marquez, co-founder of animal advocacy group Baguio Animal Welfare,  filed his CoC as senator  for  the 2022  Elections. The Comelec Law Department subsequently filed a petition to declare Marquez  a  nuisance candidate, finding him  without bona fide intention to run for a national position because he was “virtually unknown to the entire country” and lacked “the support of a political party.”

The poll body’s First Division on  13 December 2021, ruled  against Marquez and declared him a  nuisance  candidate,  holding  that  he had  the burden to prove and failed to show that he is “known well enough nationwide.”

It also held that Marquez  cannot invoke the Supreme Court’s ruling in his previous case in 2019, Marquez v Comelec, where the Court ruled in his  favor.

In the 2019 Decision, the  Court nullified the Comelec’s  declaration of Marquez as a  nuisance senatorial candidate  in  the 2019 National and Local Elections, holding that the Comelec cannot conflate the bona fide intention to run with a financial capacity requirement.

Nuisance status

However, in the present case, the grounds for Marquez’s nuisance status are different; hence the 2019 ruling is not applicable, held the Comelec.  This was affirmed by the Comelec En Banc on 3 January 2022 when  it denied Marquez’s Motion for Reconsideration, prompting  him to raise the matter to the Supreme Court.

Marquez also prayed for a  Temporary Restraining Order    against the Comelec which  the  High Tribunal granted on 19 January 2022, enjoining the Comelec from implementing  its  assailed resolutions.

But the poll body proceeded with  the  printing  of  official ballots  where  Marquez’s name was not included.

While Marquez’s case has been mooted by the conclusion of the  2022 Elections, the Supreme Court  found it necessary to resolve the  matter since the same situation may recur in future elections.

The SC in  resolving Marquez’s  petition, found that the Comelec committed several errors.

First, it shifted the burden on Marquez to prove that he is not a nuisance candidate, a burden supposed to be borne by the Comelec Law Department which made the allegation that Marquez did not possess bona fide intention to run for senator.


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