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MANILA, Philippines – As soon as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) opens the filing of candidacies for the mid-term 2013 elections, those eyeing elective positions should quickly make up their minds whether to run or not.
Based on the schedule set by the poll body, aspiring candidates will be given only 5 days to file their certificates of candidacy (COCs). The filing period will run from Oct 1-5, 2012.
This schedule is earlier and shorter than the filing period set by Comelec for the 2010 elections, which ran from November 20 to December 1, 2009.
Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento explained that 5 days are enough for candidates to file their COCs. This will also give the poll body enough time to resolve petitions seeking to disqualify these candidates.
“That’s more than enough time, and number two reason is for any interested party to file a petition for disqualification so the Comelec can finalize its list of candidates in time for automated elections,” he said.
The Comelec will decide on who will make it in the official list of candidates from December 2 to 31. Then the ballots, which will bear the names of the official candidates, will be printed out from January 20 to April 25 next year.
The campaign period for candidates for the House of Representatives, regional, provincial, and city and municipal positions will be from March 29 to May 11, while the campaign period for senatorial candidates and party-list groups will be from February 12 to May 11.
No more delay on cases
The early schedule set for the filing of COCs is a move to avoid the disaster in the 2010 elections, in which disqualification cases remained unsettled even after the printing of ballots and the start of the campaign period.
When the local campaigns began on March 26, 2010, the poll body had not yet resolved 57 disqualification cases and 77 motions for reconsideration involving aspirants for various local positions. As a result, these candidates were still allowed to campaign.
Also, ballots were already printed in February, so the Comelec allowed the names of the questioned candidates to remain on the ballots. This was in anticipation of the aspirants turning out to be qualified. Votes for those who were disqualified in the middle of the campaign period were simply considered stray votes.
The Comelec admitted they received a record number of COCs in the 2010 automated polls.
During the filing period from November 20 to December 1, according to the Comelec, 99 filed for president, 20 for vice president, and 158 for senator. A total of 305 organizations registered their intent to participate in the party-list elections; 82 of them filed on the last day alone.
“It shows [their] confidence in automated elections,” said Ferdinand Rafanan, then chief of the poll body’s legal division.
Rafanan, as well as current legal division chief Esmeralda Amora-Ladra, said that they even expect a greater number of candidates to join the 2013 polls. – Rappler.com