NEWS FEATURE: EARLY COC FILERS PSYCHOTIC - DOC

MANILA, December 17, 2003 (STAR) By Sheila Crisostomo - The obscure candidates who trooped to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) the other day to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) for president should have instead been brought to psychiatrists by their relatives.

This was the assessment made yesterday by Dr. Gregorio Diokno Jr., a fellow at the Philippine Psychiatric Society, who described the early presidential wannabes who declared their candidacy on the first day of filing Monday as "psychotic" because "they are not in touch with reality."

In a telephone interview, Diokno noted that based on the pronouncements and behavior of the presidential aspirants, "it is my opinion that they are mentally ill."

"They see the election as an opportunity to express their psychosis. A majority of these people are delusional or grandiose. They are floridly psychotic," he added.

Psychosis is characterized by delusion, pertaining to false belief, and hallucination, which refers to perceptual disturbances.

None of the prominent presidential aspirants showed up when the Comelec opened the 18-day registration period for candidates last Monday.

Instead, a handful of obscure candidates filed their certificates, declaring their intention to run for president in May 2004.

Among the candidates was a woman who described herself as the fiancee of United States President George W. Bush, whom she had met only on TV. Another was a man who simply described himself as "the messiah."

According to Diokno, the candidates are "simply not in touch with reality," and dismissed the possibility that the candidates were only fed up with the government and wanted to pursue changes themselves.

"I donít think that these people see it from that point of view," he said, urging instead the families of these candidates to bring them to psychiatrists to address their delusions.

"People in this condition usually do not have an insight about their illness. So it would be better for their families or relatives to bring them to psychiatrists for counseling and medication," he said.

Diokno suggested that the Comelec also submit all candidates to a neuro-psychiatric test to ensure that they are really qualified to seek public office.

"The neuro-psychiatric test should not be done by one but at least three doctors who can check the fitness of the candidates to run for election. The Comelec should have stringent measures in screening candidates," he said.

Meanwhile, another man claiming to be Jesus Christ filed his certificate of candidacy for vice president, saying he was willing to be the running mate of Fernando Poe Jr.

Alfredo Ananayo, 56, with occupation listed as security guard, gave his nickname as "Son of God" and promised to turn the Philippines into the Second Jerusalem using the contents of the Bible as his platform of government.

Ananayo filed for vice president yesterday, thus joining the growing list of seeming nuisance candidates for the May 10, 2004 national and local elections.

Ananayo, of Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City, spoke relatively fluent English when interviewed by reporters and even sang his own musical composition titled "Queen of Jerusalem" when he arrived. The song sounded like a Holy Week chant, according to Comelec employees who were his audience.

As of yesterday, three more filed their certificates of candidacy for president to raise to 19 the total number running for the top post in the land. Three have filed for vice president.

At least two who filed their certificates had already been disqualified in the 1998 elections. It is the Comelec that decides which candidate is to be declared a nuisance, one factor being if he or she has not enough financial logistics to conduct a sustained nationwide campaign. ó With Jose Aravilla


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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