It’s that time of the year again – -right before the election period sets in for the May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections. Contrary to recent expectations, the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoCs) for the May 9, 2022 National and Local elections is not on-line filing but personal filing of hard copies of CoCs. By promulgating Comelec Resolution no. 10717 on August 18, 2021, Comelec main office opted this kind of filing so that the hard copies could be personally delivered to its Law Department.
The above-mentioned resolution mentions that the period to file the CoCs must only be on October 1 to 8, 2021, including Saturday and Sunday, from 8am to 5pm with the respective Comelec Office, depending on the local elective position that the candidate will run for (Section 7, Com. Res. 10717).
Candidates running under a political party must take note that they must file five copies of their CoCs together with their Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA), in five copies also, in the form prescribed by the Comelec, under oath (Section 13, Com. Res. no. 10717). All candidates must attach a passport size photograph, taken within the last six months including a P30.00 documentary stamp tax. The documentary stamp shall be attached to the first page of the CoC and the documentary stamp tax number shall be written on the remaining four copies of the CoC. If a P30.00 documentary stamp is not available, two documentary stamps of P15.00 shall be attached to the CoC. The candidates must always remember that their CoCs must be sworn to before a notary public or any official authorized to administer oath. Employees of the Comelec are not authorized to administer the same, even if they are notaries public (Section 19, Com. Res. no. 10717).
All of the requirements mentioned herein must be followed, otherwise, the concerned Election Officer will refuse acceptance until the requirements are faithfully complied with. The candidates are also reminded to write clearly and legibly on their CoCs to prevent typographical errors that could appear on their names that will be reflected in the official ballots. In case this happens, they have until November 8, 2021 to file a request for correction of clerical or typographical errors on said names (Section 29, Com Res. no. 10717).
In addition to the rules above, the Comelec also requires strict adherence to the health protocols as prescribed by the IATF. In the reception of CoCs/CONA in Comelec Offices, there must be social or physical distancing of at least 6 feet. Thus, candidates or their authorized representatives may be escorted by a maximum of 2 persons only. An independent candidate, political party or accredited citizen’s arm shall be allowed 1 watcher each within the premises of the receiving office (Section 41, Com. Res. no. 10717). Times are indeed changing, we are no longer expecting candidates who will come to the office bringing with them an entourage of relatives and supporters with gongs and other instruments indicating that persons belonging to a certain tribe or clan has arrived. Although we will be missing this kind of practice, for now, we can expect similar much-awaited practices in future electoral exercises when we shall have successfully hurdled this present pandemic.
Lastly, all persons, during the filing of CoCs, must wear well-fitting masks (surgical mask, N95, KN95) that completely cover their noses and mouths including face shields at all times. No face mask and face shield, no filing of CoCs. All filers must also bring their own ballpens.
A more detailed discussion concerning all these, will be made on August 27, 2021, Friday at 9am at our Election Day segment on RNG Luzon’s Balitaktakan. Please watch it.
***All comment/s and opinion/s in this article are made by me in my personal capacity as a lawyer and not as an employee of the Comelec.