By Leslie Ann Aquino
The election fever is on as the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May, 2019, mid-term elections begins today.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said its offices shall be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accept COCs from October 11 to 17, except Saturday and Sunday.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez Jimenez reminded those filing their COCs for senator at the third floor of the Palacio delGobernador in Intramuros, Manila, that only four persons will be allowed to accompany them inside the building.
“Five persons will be allowed to enter Palacio delGobernador, including the senatorial candidate,” he said.
For party-list groups, Jimenez said 10 people will be allowed, including the nominees.
He also said that the filing of the Certificate of Nomination (CON) and Certificate of Acceptance of Nomination of party-list groups shall be filed at the 8th floor of Palacio delGobernador.
Also expected to file their COCs are those running for congressmen, governors, vice governors, members of SangguniangPanlalawigan, city mayors, city vice mayors, city councilors, municipal mayors, municipal vice mayors, municipal councilors, ARMM governor, ARMM vice governor, and ARMM assemblymen.
For these local positions, the COCs shall be filed at the Office of National Capital Region Director for Metro Manila congressmen; Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor for provincial officials, including congressmen; Office of the City/Municipal Election Officer for city/municipal officials; Office of the ARMM Regional Election Director for ARMM governor and vice governor; and Office of the ARMM Provincial Election Supervisor for ARMM legislative assembly members.
Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10420, the COC shall be filed by the aspirant or through a duly authorized representative with a sworn and signed authority to file the COC.
“No COC filed by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile shall be accepted,” it said.
Except for elected officials, those holding public appointive positions shall be immediately considered as resigned and must vacate their posts on the same day they filed their COCs and CONs
“Any person holding a public appointive position, including active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other officers and employees in government-owned and -controlled corporation, shall be considered ipso facto resigned from the office and must vacate the same at the start of the day of the filing of COC,” the resolution read.
Based on the Omnibus Election Code,“no person shall be eligible for any elective public office unless he files a sworn COC.”
With the start of the COC filing, the Comelec expressed hope that the event won’t turn into a circus for politicians’ supporters.
“We want to emphasize that our goal in our preparations for the filing is dignified. We don’t want to turn it into a circus of supporters. We don’t want it to be chaotic. We don’t want it to be disorderly that’s why we are controlling the process,” Jimenez said in a forum in Manila.
According to the poll official, they expect that there will be major names every day of the filing.
He also expects that more people will file their COCs for senator for the upcoming polls compared to the 2016 elections.
61 M voters
Meanwhile, the Comelec expects around 61 million registered voters to participate in the May, 2019, elections.
“We expect that in 2019, we may have close to 61 million voters,” Jimenez said.
He said an estimated one-third of the 61 million voters belong to those aged 18 to 35 years old.
“We should factor in the inclusion of the alumni of the SangguniangKabataan. They need not register as they are automatically included in the list of voters,” said Jimenez.
For the overseas absentee voters, he said the Comelec estimates another 1.9 million registered OAVs.