THE election season officially begins today as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) opens its doors to accept the certificates of candidacy (COC) to be filed by aspirants for the positions of President, Vice President, senator and other elective posts.
Candidates have until Friday to file their COCs.
Vice President Jejomar Binay is expected to be an early bird as his camp has said he will be at the Comelec office in Intramuros, Manila, when the commission opens on Monday.
“VP [Binay] will file his COC at 8 a.m. with the Comelec,” Joey Salgado, Binay’s spokesman, told The Manila Times on Sunday.
Aside from Binay, those who are eyeing the country’s top post are former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd of the Liberal Party (LP), Sen. Grace Poe and OFW Family Club party-list Rep. Roy Seneres.
The candidates for Vice President are Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo (LP), Senator Francis Escudero, (Independent.), Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th and Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan is yet to formally accept the offer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to be Binay’s running mate.
When asked if Honasan will accompany Binay, Salgado replied, “We have no information on that yet.”
It was not known, however, when Roxas and Robredo will file their respective COCs.
Similarly, there is no information yet on when Poe and Escudero will file theirs.
The LP, meanwhile, is scheduled to announce its complete line-up today at its Balay headquarters in Quezon City.
Under Comelec Resolution 9984, candidates for President, Vice President and senators should file their COCs in Intramuros, Manila.
Each national candidate is allowed three companions during the filing of his or her COC.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the Comelec will not entertain or accept COCs filed by mail, electronic mail or facsimile.
“It should be filed either by the candidate or through a duly-authorized representative. The CoC should be accompanied with a sworn and signed authority to file the document,” Jimenez added.
Candidates should also present a certificate of nomination (CON) and acceptance of political parties without which he or she shall be declared as independent.
Candidates for congressmen in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila should file their COCs at the Comelec-National Capital Region in Manila, while those in the provinces should file theirs with the Provincial Election Supervisor (PES).
On the other hand, candidates for congressmen in independent cities and municipalities shall file their COCs at their city and municipal election office.
Nominees for party-list organizations should also file their COCs at the Comelec law department.
Candidates are considered resigned and must vacate their posts upon filing of their COCs.
Former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino will run as an independent senatorial candidate and will file his COC on Wednesday, it was learned.
A source who is privy to the plan of Tolentino said the former MMDA chief has not abandoned his senatorial ambition after his fallout with LP stalwarts over a lewd show during a LP event in Laguna.
At the same time, good governance advocates claimed that Tolentino was “bullied” by LP members who used him to cover up for the “sins” of other LP bets.
Alberto Vicente, spokesman for the Alliance for Good Governance, stood firm in his claim that the LP was behind the “demolition job” against its own allies who have expressed their intention to run for the Senate in 2016.
“He was hapless and helpless. He was bullied. Tolentino was an underdog. The big boys were ganging up on him,” Vicente said in a statement.
“Tolentino is more qualified compared to other aspirants for the Senate slate of the LP. What they did to him could happen to others, too,” he added.
“Look at Joel Villanueva, he’s facing a pork barrel case and he himself admitted that a group of LP stalwarts, identified with Roxas, wants him out of the Cabinet and from the ruling party’s Senate slate,” he Vicente said.
Villanueva, who is expected to run under the LP, is not on speaking terms with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, one of the senatorial bets of the ruling party.
He has lashed at de Lima for including him in the latest batch of respondents in the pork barrel scam.