18,000 posts up for grabs

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects a deluge of candidates who will be filing their certificates of candidacy (COCs) for various positions nationwide.

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Thousands of political aspirants will slug it out for the 18,069 positions up for grabs in the 2016 elections.

“This is the unofficial start of campaign period. Comelec is expecting a deluge of candidates and their supporters,” Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said on Sunday.

To be contested in the 2016 elections are the positions for President, Vice President, 12 senators, 58 party-list representatives, 235 district congressmen, 81 governors, 81 vice governors, 772 members of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan, 144 city mayors, 144 city vice mayors, 1,610 city councilors, 1,490 municipal mayors, 1,490 vice mayors, 11,924 municipal councilors, and a governor and a vice governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and 24 ARMM assemblymen.

Under the Comelec rules, the filing of COCs will be from October 12 to 16, 2015.

To ensure that corporations will be insulated from political spending, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Comelec will sign within the month an agreement on assessing political candidates’ campaign expenditure plans to determine if any corporation has bankrolled the candidacy of some aspirants.

Arman Pan, SEC acting corporate secretary, said the SEC will sign the memorandum of agreement (MOA) “in two weeks’ time.”

“We will have a MOA signing with Comelec to make sure corporations are not allowed to donate or contribute to political campaigns,” Pan added.

“We’ll look at the list of contributions and see if a corporation is included,” he said.

Section 95 of the Omnibus Election Code prohibits domestic and foreign corporations, public or private financial institutions, persons operating a public utility and persons who hold contracts or sub-contracts with the government for construction and other works from contributing election funds.

Other individuals or entities that are not allowed to donate are persons granted with franchises, incentives and/or of the same privilege or concessions by the government; persons granted loans or others in excess of P100,000 by the government within one year prior to the election day; educational institutions receiving grants of public funds; and officials, employees or members in the Civil Service Commission and Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Section 36 of the Corporation Code provides that “no corporation, domestic or foreign, shall give donations in aid of any political party or candidate or for purposes of partisan political activity.”

Under the law, candidates for President and Vice President can spend only P10 for each voter, while the other candidates are limited to P3 for each voter.

Political parties and independent candidates, on the other hand, are allowed to spend P5 for every voter.

The campaign period for all qualified candidates will run from January 10 to May 7 next year.

WITH KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO

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