Comelec cuts list of 2022 candidates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 24) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has drastically cut its list of national candidates for the May 2022 elections.

From 97 aspirants, the presidential race will be down to 15 based on the tentative list published by the poll body on Friday. 

Familiar names include former Palace spokesman and Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernie Abella, labor leader Leody de Guzman, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, Norberto Gonzales (former President Gloria Arroyo's Defense chief), Senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, and Vice President Leni Robredo.

Two Marcoses are on the list so far: Bongbong is still in the running as six petitions blocking his 2022 candidacy remain unresolved, and Maria Aurora.

Tiburcio Marcos, meanwhile, was removed from the list.

Prior to next year's polls, the most number of presidential bets on a national ballot was 10 during the 1998 elections.

As for the vice presidency, nine aspirants are left out of the 29 vying for the post.

They are Buhay Party-list's Lito Atienza, former Akbayan representative Walden Bello, Rizalito David (who wanted Senator Grace Poe disqualified in the 2016 race), Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Dr. Willie Ong, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, and Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.

Seventy individuals are still in the running to compete for 12 Senate seats, with over a hundred declared as nuisance candidates.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez has said the poll body may release the final list of 2022 candidates by the last week of December as commissioners finish the hearings against nuisance bets.

In a separate statement on Friday, Jimenez said the list is not final.

"Names will still be stricken off the list as the judgment in their respective cases achieve finality. In any case, aspirants become 'official candidates' only at the start of the campaign period," he said.