Comelec’s wise move in Zambo Norte row
"The poll body saw through a ploy."
In our last column, we shared the view expressed by political observers that the results of the elections in certain parts of Mindanao might end up being decided by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rather than by the electorate themselves. Well, recent developments may have fueled hopes that such may not be the case. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) just last week proved once more that it aims to uphold the sanctity of the election process and will leave the power of choice in the hands of voters. The development pertains to an issue which hounded the contest for the governorship of Zamboanga del Norte. The incumbent, Governor Roberto “Berto” Uy, is running for reelection against two contenders. One is a member of the Jalosjos clan—Zamboanga del Norte Congressman Seth Frederick “Bullet,” son of former Representative Romeo Jalosjos. That a Jalosjos is challenging the incumbent Uy for the post comes as no surprise. The Uys and the Jalosjoses have been locked in a political battle royale for the past two or so elections. The more interesting challenger is the third one—an unknown aspirant who some say is a utility man who is in the payroll of a local government in that province. What makes him even more interesting is that his name is also “Roberto Uy.” Even more interesting is that he sports the same nickname—“Berto”—as that of the incumbent governor. The only difference is their respective middle names. The incumbent’s is “Yu”; the challenger’s is “Escobido.” But then, middle names do not matter in political campaigns. They were both talked about and referred to as “Berto Uy.” The Comelec must have seen through this brilliant ploy. In its resolution, the Comelec ruled that the utility man is nothing more than a “nuisance” candidate and nullified his certificate of candidacy. Reports say the Comelec went under much pressure to let the utility man stay on the ballot. It appears the only way his nemeses thought the original Berto Uy could be defeated was to confuse voters. It appears the Comelec decided to stand its ground and deal with the confusion that the presence of a second “Berto Uy” creates. This is a good move by the Comelec. By standing its ground, the Commission has raised hopes that the voters of Zamboanga del Norte will be voting for the candidate who they actually have in their mind as their choice. Theirs will be votes based on a decision which, in turn, is based on accurate information. Fielding a namesake of a candidate has been an overused tool in local elections in this country. As the Comelec resolution noted, the intention is nothing more than to confuse voters. The Comelec knows that confusion is the enemy of wise decisions.