Constant nuisance


In the 1998 national elections, refrigerator technician Benjamin P. Rivera filed at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila a certificates of candidacy (CoC) for mayor of Manila. The Comelec rejected the 56-year-old Rivera’s CoC because he was a nuisance candidate.

The Comelec has three definitions for a nuisance candidate. One, he or she is someone who puts the election process in mockery or disrepute. Two, he or she causes confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates. Three, the CoC applicant has no bonafide intention to run for the office.

Rivera falls under the first definition. Eventually, Jose L. Atienza Jr. was elected mayor of Manila.

In the next election in 2001, Rivera took another shot at running for Manila mayor and filed his CoC. Again, the Comelec declared him a nuisance candidate. Atienza was re-elected mayor.

In the 2004 election, Rivera returned to Comelec and filed his CoC. As usual, the Comelec rejected it. Every election thereafter – 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019 – Rivera sought to be a candidate for mayor but his CoC was rejected each time.

On Thursday, the first day of filing of CoC for the mid-term elections next year, reporters asked Rivera, now 76, how he felt being always declared a nuisance candidate.

The refrigerator technician coolly replied that he just ignores it.

No wonder the Comelec reciprocates Rivera’s persistence by also freezing his CoC.