Comelec moves to Sofitel venue of October COC filing for national posts

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday, September 15, that the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for national positions from October 1 to 8 would be held in one of the tents of Sofitel in Pasay.

In elections before the pandemic, the Comelec received applications of COCs for president, vice president, senators, as well as certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONAs) for representatives of the party-list system, in its main office in Intramuros, Manila.

During a hearing by the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Election System, the poll body said the new venue was chosen to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 infections.

"The filing of COCs for national positions will be at Sofitel, in one of its tents," Comelec executive director Bartolome Sinocruz Jr. said.

"The doors will be open, [there's proper] ventilation, that is a big place to be divided into venue for filing for president, vice president, senators, and party-list groups," he added.

Comelec Resolution No. 10717, uploaded on the election body's website in August, gave Comelec's receiving offices the authority to change venues if there were prevailing COVID-19 concerns.

“If the designated venue for the filing of COC...is not suitable based on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Guidelines on COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the head of the Receiving Office may request for transfer of venue, not later than September 1, 2021,” Comelec officials said in the resolution.

The memo mentioned specific guidelines on the filing of COCs. It also limited the number of companions aspirants could bring to the venue, and required them to take an RT-PCR or antigen COVID-19 test within 24 hours prior to the filing of COC.

The filing of COCs for elections before the pandemic was traditionally a spectacle similar to a fiesta, with supporters of politicians and party-list groups flocking to Comelec offices.

The change in venue highlighted yet again the impact of the pandemic on the poll body's preparations ahead of the May 9, 2022 vote. – Rappler.com