Just when you thought you knew all the candidates for president in 2022, you come across: Dave Aguila, Victoriano Inte, Jose Montemayor, Ley Ordenes, Edmundo Rubi and Jun Yulaga.

The names may not sound familiar but they are among the first to file their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) for the position of president of the Philippines. Most of the unknowns are running as independents, but two belong to parties named after but not necessarily allied to the two major US political parties.

Montemayor says he is with the Democratic Party of the Philippines, while Yulaga is with the Philippine Green Republican Party.

Yet another presidential wannabe is Leody de Guzman of the Partido Lakas ng Masa, a little-known party whose moniker comes closely to former president Joseph Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masa.

The serious presidential aspirants include such candidates as Senators Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao, as well as Manila Mayor Isko Moreno.

As of press time, Vice-president Leni Robredo as has yet to file her COC. 

Also reportedly running are the tandem of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, although it has not been determined who is running for president and who is gunning for the vice-presidency.

Among the declared bets for VP are independent Rochelle David, Pacquiao running mate party-list Rep. and former Manila mayor Lito Atienza Jr., and Yulaga running mate Alexander Lague.

The other declared VP bets are Lacson running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto, and Moreno running mate Willie Ong, a physician. 

One name is conspicuously absent this year, however. Perennial presidential candidate Ely Pamatong who had become popular enough because he has even proclaimed himself the true winner of past polls, is not listed for the simple reason that he passed away a few months ago.

Pamatong reportedly asked his family to keep his passing a secret.

The president’s spiritual adviser, Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, said recently that he was also thinking of running for president but has not followed up on his statement.

While there can only be one winner for the post of president and vice-president, the senatorial derby will have a wealth of candidates because there will be 12 vacancies to be filled.

Re-electionists include Senators Leila de Lima, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Francisco Pangilinan, Ralph Recto, Joel Villanueva, and Miguel Zubiri.

Among the early candidates is broadcast journalist Raffy Tulfo, whose popular public service radio show resulted in his landing on top of the recent survey for senate bets.

Former senators seeking a return to the upper chamber of Congress include the likes of Loren Legarda, Jinggoy Estrada, Alan Peter Cayetano, Bam Aquino, and Antonio Trillanes.

Sen. Richard Gordon is allowed by law to run for another term but he said last week that he was no longer seeking a return to the Senate.

Elsewhere, the divisive nature of Philippine politics can best be exemplified by Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson running against his son Ryan Luis Singson for the post of vice-governor of Ilocos Sur. The older Singson is a former governor of the province and is  the current mayor of Narvacan town, while the younger Singson is the current governor serving his final term.

The Commission on Elections defines a nuisance candidate as a person who does not have a bonafide intention to run for public office; makes a mockery of the election system; or has the intention to mislead the public.

In the past, candidates with the same surname as valid bets for such posts as president, vice-president, governor, mayor, or congressman filed COCs only to withdraw their candidacies in exchange for some form of compensation.