(UPDATE) A total of 10 presidential candidates and nine vice presidential candidates will officially be part of the 2022 elections, the Commission on Elections said Tuesday, as it prepares to print the ballots for the May 9 vote.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the final ballot face has been released and printing will start soon at the National Printing Office.
Making it in the final list of presidential candidates, Jimenez said, are rivals and survey frontrunners former Sen. Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Also part of the official list of president candidates are:
- Abella, Ernie
- De Guzman, Leody
- Domagoso, Isko Moreno
- Gonzales, Norberto
- Lacson, Ping
- Mangondato, Faisal
- Montemayor, Jose Jr.
- Pacquiao, Manny Pacman
For vice president, the official candidates are:
- Atienza, Lito
- Bello, Walden
- David, Rizalito
- Duterte, Sara
- Lopez, Manny SD
- Ong, Doc Willie
- Pangilinan, Kiko
- Serapio, Carlos
- Sotto, Vicente
For senators, a total of 64 candidates made it in the final list, while 178 groups are officially part of the partylist elections, Jimenez added.
The last time that the presidential race was composed of 10 candidates was in 1998, when then Vice President Joseph Estrada won the presidency.
Jimenez said that although some of the names in the official list of candidates may be unknown to the general public, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are nuisance bets.
"They were able to show that they have a legitimate intention to run for office. Legitimate intention to run for office should not be equated with popularity," he told ANC.
"Legitimate intention to run for office should not be equated with premature campaigning which is what everyone else is doing," he added.
A total of 67.4 million official ballots will be printed for the 2022 elections, of which 1.6 million are for overseas voting while 65.7 are for local voting, the Comelec said.
Printing of ballots of overseas voting may start as soon as Wednesday, as they need to be deployed to other countries for overseas absentee voting that would start on April 10. The Comelec is targeting to finish the printing of ballots by April 21.
"For the apprehension that this pandemic situation will really hamper our timelines, we are foreseeing that. There is a contingency plan to come up with a reserved poll of workers," said Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Administration Helen Aguila-Flores.
"We have also adopted strategies such as batching of workers just in case a particular cluster is infected," she added.
Marcos' name was included in the ballot even as the Comelec has yet to decide on all the petitions seeking to block his presidential bid. At least four of these petitions have yet to be resolved by the poll body, while at least two others have been dismissed.
If Marcos is disqualified from the race with finality, he can still be substituted only by another person with the same surname.