2013 poll race on with filing of COCs

MANILA – Candidates running in the May 2013 elections are expected to troop to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) starting today to file their certificate of candidacy (COC).

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the poll body is well prepared for the filing of COCs starting today until Friday, but hopes that candidates will forgo the usual fanfare that attended similar events in the past.

“Everything is ready for the October 1 to 5 filing of COCs. All systems go!” Brillantes said in his Twitter account.

“We appeal to candidates to dispense with all the fanfare. Let us make the filing of COCs this coming October 1 to 5 as dignified as it should be,” Brillantes noted.

All those aspiring to run for senator, member of the House of Representatives, provincial, city, municipal and even those intending to become elective officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are mandated to file their COCs before the Comelec.

The elective positions include 12 senators; 229 district members of the House; 80 governors; 80 vice governors; 766 members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (provincial council); 138 city mayors; 138 city vice mayors; 1,532 members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod (city council); 1,496 municipal mayors; 1,496 municipal vice mayors; and 11,972 members of the Sangguniang Bayan (municipal council).

In the ARMM, positions up for grab are one regional governor; one regional vice governor; and 24 regional assemblymen.
Comelec said the COC shall be filed by the candidate personally or by his duly authorized representative, whose authority shall be in writing, under oath and attached.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez also urged candidates to avoid as much as possible their rivals during the COC filing in order to prevent a clash between supporters.

“I would like to ask those filing their COCs to keep your supporters in check… Make sure that you keep a tight rein on them to avoid scuffles of any sort,” Jimenez said.

The military, on the other hand, said they did not monitor any threat that could disrupt the start of the filing of COCs.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos, nevertheless, said they are coordinating with authorities to thwart any untoward incidents.

“Active security measures are already in place in support to the PNP (Philippine National Police) and an enhanced coordination with the PNP and other law enforcement agencies is being maintained,” Burgos said.

“Though there is no threat monitored, the AFP will continue to gather and collect vital intelligence information to preempt any untoward incident from happening that would disrupt the activity,” he added.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome said security preparations for the filing of candidacies are already in place.

“Our security coverage is complete. All activities of Comelec that have something to do with the filing should be properly secured,” Bartolome said.

Bartolome tasked all the police field commanders to coordinate with their counterparts in the Comelec and the military.
Bartolome also said they already have an initial list of election hotspots but declined to identify the areas included in them.

“We already have an initial list (of poll hotspots) but it remains to be further validated and as we get nearer the election period, our assessments could change,” he said.
“We can’t discuss (the list) until we validate it and we complete the additional evaluation in the ground. The political climate can change,” he added.

The COC filing period will be during office hours only for five days beginning 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.