Issue of October 14, 2018
     
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COMELEC declares it will not tolerate manaña habit
by Jane B. Cadalig

The Commission on Elections-Baguio City will not extend any mercy to political aspirants who procrastinate or those who will wait for the last hour to formalize their intentions.

City Election Officer John Paul Martin said mañana habit will not be tolerated during the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 2019 midterm elections.

He said his office will stop accepting COCs at 5 p.m. of Wednesday, Oct. 17, which is the last day for those intending to run for public office to make their intentions formal. The filing of COCs started on Oct. 11.

“We are warning candidates who will come on the last day. It’s time to be mature. We will no longer tolerate mañana habit. Our office will cutoff at 5 p.m.,” he said.

Martin said it is time to change the practice in which Comelec offices extend their operations up to the wee hours on the last day of filing only to accommodate candidates who choose to file their COCs at the last minute.

He said it is important that candidates file their COCs early because the forms for the 2019 polls are not the same as the ones used in the previous elections.

He added if the candidates will file early, they will have time to correct the errors they commit in filling up the forms or they will have time to comply if they lack the requirements.

Martin already briefed on Oct. 9 the candidates and their political parties’ representatives on the features of the 2019 COC forms, which must be filled up completely and must be notarized with the lawyer’s signature and official seal, among other things, for it to be accepted by the Comelec.

“Everything must be accurate and detailed. If there are entries in the COC that have not been marked or if there are information that is not provided, we will reject it,” he said.

This year, Martin said Comelec-Baguio will deploy watchers to witness the filing of COCs. “This is why we briefed the candidates’ representatives early on the requirements because we do not want to reject COCs in front of the watchers and the media,” he said.

Another reason for the deployment of watchers during the filing of COC is to dissuade nuisance candidates.

“We hope the nuisance candidates will be discouraged knowing that they are being watched during the filing of their COCs,” he said.

The aspirants must submit five copies of notarized COCs and five copies of certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA) for those belonging to a political party. Independent candidates need not submit a CONA.

The Comelec-Baguio, however encourages candidates to accomplish seven COC copies – one will be their personal copy and the other, they can give to their supporters.

The aspirants’ signatures, their IDs, including the signature of the notary public, must all be original. A P30 documentary stamp must be attached to the first copy of the COC. For the succeeding copies, only the documentary stamp number should be written.

Candidates are also advised to be prudent in choosing their names and nicknames because in the new COC form, the name of the candidate that will appear on the official ballot, including the abbreviation of the political party, should not exceed 30 characters.

Martin said if the candidate will not follow the format, Comelec will be the one to designate the name that will be written in the official ballot.

He said filing of multiple COCs, or intention to run for several positions is allowed, but the aspirant must cancel the other COCs and leave only one COC within the period of filing. Otherwise, all the COCs will be void.

On substitution, Martin said only those with political parties can field a substitute, which will apply only after the period of COC filing. The last day of filing for substitution is on Nov. 29.


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