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Pamatong V. Comelec G.R. No. 161872, April 13, 2004.

FAC !" Petitioner Pamatong filed his Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for President. Respondent COMELEC declared petitioner and 35 others as nuisance candidates ho could not age a nation ide campaign and!or not nominated "y a political party or are not supported "y registered political party ith a national constituency. Pamatong filed a Petition for #rit of Certioari ith the $upreme Court claiming that the COMELEC %iolated his right to &e'ual access to opportunities for pu"lic ser%ice( under $ection )*+ ,rticle -- of the ./01 constitution+ "y limiting the num"er of 'ualified candidates only to those ho can afford to age a nation ide campaign and!or are nominated "y political parties. 2he COMELEC supposedly erred in dis'ualifying him since he is the most 'ualified among all the presidential candidates (he possesses all the constitutional and legal 'ualifications for the office of the president+ he is capa"le of aging a national campaign since he has numerous national organi3ation under his leadership+ he also has the capacity to age an international campaign since he has practiced la in the other countries+ and he has a platform of go%ernment. #!!$%" #hether or not+ the petitioners interpretation of the Constitutional pro%ision under $ection )*+ ,rticle -- gi%es him a constitutional right to run or hold for pu"lic office4 R$&#NG" 5o. #hat is recogni3ed in $ection )*+ ,rticle -- of the Constitution is merely a pri%ilege su"6ect to limitations imposed "y la . -t neither "esto s such a right nor ele%ates the pri%ilege to the le%el of an enforcea"le right. 2here is nothing in the plain language of the pro%ision+ hich suggests such a thrust or 6ustifies an interpretation of the sort. 2he 7e'ual access7 pro%ision is a su"sumed part of ,rticle -- of the Constitution+ entitled 78eclaration of Principles and $tate Policies.7 2he pro%isions under the ,rticle are generally considered not self9e:ecuting+ and there is no plausi"le reason for according a different treatment to the 7e'ual access7 pro%ision. Li;e the rest of the policies enumerated in ,rticle --+ the pro%ision does not contain any 6udicially enforcea"le constitutional right "ut merely specifies a guideline for legislati%e or e:ecuti%e action. 2he disregard of the pro%ision does not gi%e rise to any cause of action "efore the courts. O"%iously+ the pro%ision is not intended to compel the $tate to enact positi%e measures that ould accommodate as many people as possi"le into pu"lic office. Moreo%er+ the pro%ision as ritten lea%es much to "e desired if it is to "e regarded as the source of positi%e rights. -t is difficult to interpret the clause as operati%e in the a"sence of legislation since its effecti%e means and reach are not properly defined. <roadly ritten+ the myriad of claims that can "e su"sumed under this ru"ric appear to "e entirely open9ended. #ords and phrases such as 7e'ual access+7 7opportunities+7 and 7pu"lic ser%ice7 are suscepti"le to countless interpretations o ing to their inherent impreciseness. Certainly+ it as not the intention of the framers to inflict on the people an operati%e "ut amorphous foundation from hich innately unenforcea"le rights may "e sourced. 2he pri%ilege of e'ual access to opportunities to pu"lic office may "e su"6ected to limitations. $ome %alid limitations specifically on the pri%ilege to see; electi%e office are found in the pro%isions of the Omni"us Election Code on 75uisance Candidates.( ,s long as the limitations apply to e%ery"ody e'ually ithout discrimination+ ho e%er+ the e'ual access clause is not %iolated. E'uality is not sacrificed as long as the "urdens engendered "y the limitations are meant to "e "orne "y any one ho is minded to file a certificate of candidacy. -n the case at "ar+ there is no sho ing that any person is e:empt from the limitations or the "urdens hich they create.

2he rationale "ehind the prohi"ition against nuisance candidates and the dis'ualification of candidates ho ha%e not e%inced a "ona fide intention to run for office is easy to di%ine. 2he $tate has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral e:ercises are rational+ o"6ecti%e+ and orderly. 2o ards this end+ the $tate ta;es into account the practical considerations in conducting elections. -ne%ita"ly+ the greater the num"er of candidates+ the greater the opportunities for logistical confusion+ not to mention the increased allocation of time and resources in preparation for the election. 2he organi3ation of an election ith "ona fide candidates standing is onerous enough. 2o add into the mi: candidates ith no serious intentions or capa"ilities to run a %ia"le campaign ould actually impair the electoral process. 2his is not to mention the candidacies hich are palpa"ly ridiculous so as to constitute a one9note 6o;e. 2he poll "ody ould "e "ogged "y irrele%ant minutiae co%ering e%ery step of the electoral process+ most pro"a"ly posed at the instance of these nuisance candidates. -t ould "e a senseless sacrifice on the part of the $tate. 2he 'uestion of hether a candidate is a nuisance candidate or not is "oth legal and factual. 2he "asis of the factual determination is not "efore this Court. 2hus+ the remand of this case for the reception of further e%idence is in order. 2he $C remanded to the COMELEC for the reception of further e%idence+ to determine the 'uestion on hether petitioner Elly =ele3 Lao Pamatong is a nuisance candidate as contemplated in $ection */ of the Omni"us Election Code.