Next year will mark the midway point, as it were, of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term as head of state. That in turn means that it would be high time for midterm elections in the Philippines, wherein registered Filipinos can vote for half of the Senate that will hold office until 2022, and the Representatives and local government officials whose 3-year terms end in 2019. To facilitate the printing of official ballots, prospective candidates are expected to file their candidacies this 2018. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) originally slated that period for October 1-5, but that is no longer the case.
Manila Bulletin reports that COMELEC has shifted the filing of Certificates of Candidacy for those planning to run in the 2019 midterm elections by about one week. The new schedule is irregularly placed starting October 11, a Thursday, to the 17th, the following Wednesday, but not including the weekend. COMELEC spokesperson James Jimenez said as much to that effect in the commission’s official statement which read: “COMELEC en banc has authorized the re-scheduling of the filing of certificates of candidacies for the #2019NLE, to October 11-17, 2018, excluding Saturday and Sunday.” Furthermore, the last day has no extended filing hours.
The reasons for the delaying of COC filing were not far from sight. Congress was still in session at the start of October, the original schedule, meaning that lawmakers would have little to no time for dropping in at COMELEC offices for making their candidacies known. This past Tuesday, September 11, the Senate adopted Concurrent Resolution No. 13 to request the COMELEC for the schedule slip. The legislative calendar for the incumbent 17th Congress has them in session from August 28 to October 12 of 2018, with an adjournment from that day up to November 11. At present both the House and Senate are in the middle of deliberating some important legislation such as the General Appropriations Bill for 2019.
COMELEC has since laid down rules for a proper candidacy filing for the next elections with Resolution No. 10420 from the previous week, for prospective Senators, Representatives, and officials of provinces, cities, municipalities and the ARMM. Aspirants must file a COC in person, whether by them or through authorized representatives that they have given sworn and signed authority to do so; no filing by mail or electronic media is allowed.
Senators and Party-list reps can only file COCs at the COMELEC law department. Members of the House for National Capital Region (NCR) congressional districts must go to the NCR regional election director’s office. Provincial representatives are to file at the provincial election supervisor. Finally, members of the House for districts in non-NCR cities must file at designated city election officers.
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