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Candidates need to file COCs anew to run for vacant House seats in S. Leyte, S. Cotabato

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By Leslie Ann Aquino 

Those who filed their Certificates of Candidacy for member of House of Representatives for the Lone Legislative District of Southern Leyte and First Legislative District of South Cotabato in connection with the May 13, 2019 midterm polls, need to file their COCs anew, said the Commission on Elections.

That is, if they are planning to run for the reapportioned district representatives of Southern Leyte and South Cotabato in the October 26 polls.

“The COCs for member of House of Representatives for the Lone Legislative District of Southern Leyte and First Legislative District of South Cotabato that were filed in connection with the May 13, 2019 elections shall not be considered as filed for purposes of the October 26, 2019 elections,” the COMELEC said in Resolution No. 10551.

To note, no person can run for an elective post unless the aspirant accomplishes and files a sworn COC in the form prescribed by the Commission.

The poll body set the first regular elections on October 26 for the representative of the first and second legislative districts of Southern Leyte and the first and third (lone) legislative districts of South Cotabato.

The Comelec earlier suspended the holding of elections for district representatives of these provinces to a date later than May 13, 2019 due to operational and logistical constraints, in view of the passage of laws reapportioning the said legislative districts.

Republic Act No. 11198 reapportioning Southern Leyte into two legislative districts became effective on February 19, 2019, while R.A. No. 11243 reapportioning the first legislative district of South Cotabato thereby creating the lone legislative district of General Santos City became effective on April 4, 2019.

In Resolution No. 10552, the Comelec also issued the guidelines and important dates pertaining to the filing of COC and nomination and acceptance (CONA) by candidates of political parties or coalitions for electing the district representatives of Southern Leyte and South Cotabato.

Based on the said Resolution, political parties or coalitions may submit a new list of authorized signatories and specimen signatures before the Law Department not later than August 15, 2019.

The poll body said COCs may be filed from 8am to 5pm at the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor for those running in the first and second legislative districts of Southern Leyte; at the Office of the Provincial Election Supervisor for those running in the first district of South Cotabato; and at the Office of the Election Officer for those running in the legislative district of General Santos City from August 26, 2019 to August 28, 2019.

The last day to file a request for correction of the name to appear on the ballot, on the other hand, is on September 11, 2019.

As for substitute candidates, they have until September 18, 2019 to file their request.

The Comelec said the substitute of an official candidate of a duly registered political party or coalition who withdrew his candidacy may file a COC not later than September 16, 2019.

In case of death or disqualification by final judgment, the poll body said the substitute who shall bear the same surname as the substituted may file a COC up to mid-day of Election Day.

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