|How the sausage is made|
Pascual B. Racuyal (1911–2004) was a perennial joke candidate who is best known for having sought the presidency in the Philippines for most of the 20th century, all despite having next to no political experience and with his political platform being either an utter joke at best or crankery at worst. Despite this, his "campaigns" were seen by Filipinos as an amusing diversion to an otherwise tense electoral atmosphere, and he actually made a bit of a dent in the polls, scoring third place after Ferdinand Marcos and Sergio Osmeña Jr. with 778 votes – and even getting more votes than other relatively serious candidates by a wide margin – during the 1969 presidential elections.
The man, the myth, the legend
Little is known about Racuyal's life, apart from growing up in Barangay Tinago in Cebu City and working as a mechanic[note 1] at an early age. For some strange reason, he had an urge to run for the presidency, first mounting his bid in 1935[note 2] up until 1986 when the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) eventually put a stop to his bullshit and deemed him a "nuisance candidate", i.e. a troll seen as someone sending the otherwise sacred elections to disrepute.
His political platforms and promises brimmed with crank magnetism and a healthy dose of trolling over the years: he pledged to have roads and highways paved with plastic to prevent deterioration, (road decay is honestly quite a common occurrence in the country; the plastic roads idea is also ahead of its time if not for its infeasibility at the time he made that claim) promised to have the whole of Manila air conditioned to spare its citizens the trouble of being subjected to sweltering tropical heat, and later in his electoral career, claimed that he would govern the whole country "by satellite and remote control" if elected. And if that wasn't enough, he recited Abraham Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address as what Filipino lawyer and former presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda recalled on Twitter.
Nuisance candidates in the Philippines
Racuyal and his antics are far from the only occurrence of nuisance candidacies in the Philippines, as it has been a recurring phenomenon in the country for the past century, with fringe candidates ranging from cranks who sought to earn a trillion dollars for the Philippines, wannabe comedians and even crackpots such as a certain Andres Calamunggay Ugboc who unironically ran on a "horoscopic" political platform.
While any (natural-born) Filipino has the right to run for public office in the interest of democracy, extralegal restrictions imposed by the Commission on Elections were codified under section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code, declaring aspiring candidates as "nuisance" if they are either determined to be sending the electoral process to certain mockery or if the candidate has no bona fide intention to run for office. Being unable to have the financial means to mount a campaign was previously grounds for a nuisance candidacy, though the Supreme Court ruled in Marquez v. COMELEC that the lack of financial means to mount a nationwide campaign is not a reason for the commission to declare someone as a nuisance candidate.
The main takeaway here – and a rather unfortunate one at that – is that these crank candidates whom the COMELEC routinely dismiss as jokes are small potatoes compared to actual candidates who have done far worse for the country than someone with either an apparent mental condition or are seeking public office just for the hell of it. And it speaks volumes on how the Filipino masses have become so utterly ignorant that they'd vote on the basis of popularity, clout or longing for the good old days (or simply because a crooked candidate cynically bought votes from desperate masses who see peso signs in their eyes), all while failing to see the bigger picture and eventually complaining or taking their gripes to the streets and demand for the president's resignation EDSA-style. Racuyal and his successors may have provided the country with cheap laughs to add some comic relief to an otherwise tumultuous electoral scene, but he (along with countless other crackpot candidates) are a symptom of an even bigger problem in the Philippines.
- Vermin Supreme, the American equivalent
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Edwin Lacierda: We have seen a handful of clowns filing their COC’s before the Comelec.
- ↑ Pascual B. Racuyal
- ↑ "IT'S NOT JUST A 2-WAY RACE". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- ↑ Ocampo, Ambeth R. (23 October 2015). "'President' Pascual Racuyal". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- ↑ Teodoro, Luis V. (22 October 2012) Nuisance candidates all. Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 "IT'S NOT JUST A 2-WAY RACE". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- ↑ Marfil, Martin (March 17, 2004). "Gill declared a nuisance candidate by COMELEC". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- ↑ BALIKAN: Taong 1992 pa sumubok maging kandidato sa pagkapangulo ni Andres Calamunggay Ugboc.
- ↑ "Omnibus Election Code - Article IX - Eligibility of Candidates and Certificate of Candidacy". COMELEC. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
- ↑ Marquez vs. COMELEC
- ↑ Looking for Racuyal