MANILA, Philippines – The period of filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2019 mid-term elections has just concluded.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said they will immediately start the evaluation of the COCs as they need to screen thousands of them to include those from different parts of the country.
“We expect to have that information out by December…by tomorrow we expect na magdadatingan ang mga filing from different provinces so we will start the evaluation process right away. Pero since napakarami ng nag-file sa atin, we have thousands of COCs literally to go through. Again, by December, matatapos natin iyan,” said Comelec Spokesperson Director James Jimenez.
Overall, the poll body received a total of 152 COCs for the senatorial race and 185 certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA) at the Comelec Main office in Manila.
Jimenez said generally the five-day period of filing the COCs was peaceful except for some problems like filers using the old version of the COC and the lax in security during the filing of former Special Assistant to the President Bong Go.
The poll body, however, clarified that there was no standoff.
“We investigated on the event for what happened, it turns out that there were other people who joined the entourage or the companions so it appeared that there were too many companions of one candidate when in fact these were companions drawn from various other candidacies,” Jimenez explained.
“I speak for the Commission comfortably and with confidence when I say that the Commission will always be fair and transparent in our dealings with the candidates,” he added.
The poll body also reminded all candidates that they can submit substitution for candidacy only until November 29, 2018.
“Ang voluntary withdrawal pwedeng samahan iyan ng substitution of candidate. Kailangan lamang, kapartido mo ang magsa-substitute para sa iyo. Hanggang November 29 iyan. After Novermber 29, involuntary withdrawal na lang ang allowed,” the Comelec spokesperson said.
The Comelec is expected to issue the final list by December 15, 2018.
The poll body also wants to make it clear that the campaign period for the senatorial candidates and party-list groups will be from February 12 to May 11, 2019.
Meanwhile, those running for a seat in the House of Representatives may only start campaigning on May 11, 2019.
In accordance with Resolution No. 10429, election period is set on January 13 until July 12, 2019 in which gun ban will also take effect.
Finally, election day will be on May 13, 2019, a Monday,
As always, the Comelec reminds the voting public to use their right to suffrage wisely.
“Hindi pa natin alam ang final list pero may idea na kayo kung sino ang dapat nating pag-aralan ang plataporma, ang ikinikilos sa gobyerno, sa pakikitungo sa tao. Dapat magdesisyon tayo ng tama para tama rin ang iboboto natin,” Jimenez concluded — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Aiko Miguel)