ATENEO de Manila University professor Danton Remoto could get a few pointers on how not to be declared a nuisance candidate from Felix Cantal. And while Remoto’s at it, maybe Ang Ladlad, the party-list group he heads, could also learn a lesson or two from Cantal’s party, the Philippine Green Republican Party (PGRP).
- one who files his candidacy to put the election process in mockery or disrepute
- one who causes confusion among the voters by the similarity of the names of the registered candidates
- one who, based on demonstrable circumstances or acts, has no bona fide intention to run for office
In its Resolution No. 7832, the Commission on Elections declared Remoto a nuisance candidate even as it gave due course to the candidacy of Cantal.
Felix Cabrera Cantal, or “Kuya Peck” as he prefers to be called, is PGRP’s lone senatorial candidate for the May 2007 elections. He claims to be a “political economist” with a doctorate degree in Political Economics from Oxford University. He also says he has honorary Ph.D.s in Arts and Letters from Columbia University and Mathematics from Harvard University.
He lists the Cantal Group of Business Services as among his Philippine-based businesses, which include the following companies: Cantal Globe Oil Worldwide Exploration and Distribution, Cantal Shipping and Lighterage, Cantal Engineering Metal Builders and General Construction, and Globe Oil Shipping Lines which, he claims, has passenger ships in Indonesia. He also markets rope, textile, apparels, cables and wires from China for distribution to Europe, the Middle East and the United States.
A search at the Securities and Exchange Commission, however, showed that not one of the establishments he mentions as part of his business ventures is registered. In fact, only four corporations are listed under the name Felix C. Cantal, none of which have business-sounding names: Citizens of the Philippines Movement for Sovereign Rights, Perpetualight Top Service Movement Philippines International, Inc., Youth Monetary Economics and Public Economics Movement Philippines International, and Global Movement for Social Economics, Inc.
Cantal also claims to have business interests in other parts of the world. These are the American Globe Oil Exploration which operates in the “North Pole, near Iceland and Greenland, between Russia and Canada.”
In an interview with the PCIJ, Cantal enumerated the various positions he has held over the years. According to him, he was a United Nations officer for sixteen years. He started in 1957 until 1973. He claimed to have been the Internal Director of the United Nations Security Council for two years, Operating Officer of the United Nations General Assembly for two years, editor-in-chief of the United Nations Organ, United Information Division for two years, and director of the International Court of Justice for four years.
In his certificate of candidacy, however, Cantal wrote his birth date as May 18, 1949, which means he was only eight years old when he started working for the United Nations. Either Cantal is a genius or this Doctor of Mathematics from Harvard miscalculated his age.
Prof. Winnie Monsod, while reading Cantal’s bio data minutes before the taping of Palaban, exclaimed: “This is ridiculous, incredible!”
But wait till she reads Crispina Belen’s interview in the Manila Bulletin dated June 13, 2006 where Cantal claimed to have directed “more than 60 full-length movies in Hollywood, nine of them James Bond films (six of them starred in by Sean Connery, and three by Roger Moore) under the name Abdel Sommers.” Or the July 17, 2005 interview by the same writer where Cantal claimed to have “landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for being Asia’s Advertising Wizard.”
His showbiz connection doesn’t end there though. He claims to be the owner of Starboard Films Production which, he says, syndicates the Charlie Chaplin movies. “I bought the rights for worldwide distribution from MGM.” The official site of Charlie Chaplin however states that “the worldwide all media distribution rights to (Charlie Chaplin) films, excluding live orchestral screenings of the films, are currently licensed to MK2 in Paris.”
Asked if the Philippine Green Republican Party has the resources to launch a nationwide campaign, Cantal countered that their funds come “from contribution of the members of Black Forest which has five million card-carrying members nationwide.”
Black Forest, according to Cantal, is “a group, whose members are the remnants of the guerrilla forces based in Sierra Madre, attached to the reservist group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.” Its mission is “to protect the sovereign territorial domain of the Republic of the Philippines from an invasion.”
When asked if the group, of which he is the national commander, is allowed to take up arms, Cantal replied that the members will use “bow and arrow, and the vintage arms left by the Japanese.”
In its resolution, the Comelec declared that the PGRP “has a nationwide constituency.”
On the contrary, the Comelec resolution dated February 27, 2007 signed by Second Division Presiding Commissioner Florentino A. Tuason Jr. and member Commissioners Rene V. Sarmiento and Nicodemo T. Ferrer stated that Ang Ladlad’s declaration of “untruthful statements” regarding the national scope of its membership was the reason why the poll body junked its accreditation bid.
In its petition for registration submitted to the Comelec on September 5, 2003, PGRP listed Fernando Poe Jr., Noli de Castro, Edgardo Angara, Miriam Santiago, Juan Ponce Enrile, among others as founding members. Atty. Edgardo Tumangan, campaign manager of Senator Edgardo Angara, however refutes this, saying the senator has only one party, the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.
The office of Senator Santiago, in a statement sent to PCIJ, said that “Senator Santiago does not remember founding or being a member of the Philippine Green Republican Party. She does not have documents on PGRP.”
In the PGRP’s constitution and by-laws submitted to the Comelec, documents which served as basis for the party’s accreditation, it was alleged that in a meeting held on December 20, 2002 the founding members of the party ratified its constitution duly seconded by Oscar Orbos, Pong Biazon, Rufus Rodriguez, Rodrigo Duterte, among others. Former Executive Secretary Oscar Orbos expressed shock and disbelief in an interview, even calling PGRP’s use of his name “gratuitous.” Orbos says he has never heard of Felix Cantal and he is not in any way connected with the PGRP.
But by issuing a Comelec resolution dated January 24, 2004 penned by then Commissioner Rufino S.B. Javier and concurred in by Commissioners Luzviminda Tancangco and Resurreccion Borra granting the petition for registration of Philippine Green Republican Party as a national political party, the Comelec in effect affirms that the allegations of PGRP are true and correct.
In Pamatong vs. Comelec (Rev. Elly Chavez Pamatong, Esquire vs. Comelec, G.R. 161872, Feb. 9, 2004), quoted by the poll body in Resolution 7842, it is provided that “the State has a compelling interest to ensure that its electoral exercises are rational, objective, and orderly.” It goes to say that “the factual determination of whether a candidate is a nuisance candidate is within the province of Comelec.”
Section 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 7800 dated January 5, 2007 states that “the Commission may, at any time before election, motu proprio refuse to give due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy of any candidate for the positions of Senator and Party-list.”