GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 10 Oct) – Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices in Region 12 are all set for the start of the week-long filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) on Thursday for aspirants in the 2019 local and national midterm elections.
Lawyer Michael Abas, Comelec-12 regional director, said Wednesday they have completed their preparations, especially the setting of necessary mechanisms, to ensure the smooth and orderly filing of COCs throughout the region.
Comelec-12 has jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato, and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong and Kidapawan.
Although administratively a part of Region 12, Cotabato City is under the Comelec in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
“Our field monitoring is ongoing and so far, our election offices and personnel are all ready to accept and process the COCs,” he said in a radio interview.
Abas said they expect candidates to start coming to local election offices on Thursday but the number of filings of COCs in the area is historically low during the first day.
He said most candidates usually wait for the final day, which will be on Oct. 17, or other convenient dates based on “superstitious beliefs.”
The official reminded candidates that election offices will not accept COCs this weekend or on Oct. 13 to 14 to allow their personnel attend to pending administrative concerns.
He said aspirants may only file their COC during standard office or “business hours” from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Abas said they should make sure that all 22 entries and required signatures in the COC forms are properly filled up before submitting them.
He said they should have them duly notarized and with the corresponding documentary stamps.
Aspirants nominated by accredited or recognized political parties should also submit copies of their certificates of acceptance and nomination.
“Our duty as election officers is only ministerial and limited to the receiving or acceptance of the COCs. But we can also refuse to accept incomplete forms, especially those lacking the required documents,” he said.
He said they have created committees in all election offices in the area that will filter or review the submitted COCs.
Based on the resolution earlier issued by the Comelec central office, Abas said they don’t expect any extension of the filing period for the COCs.
“That will allow us to immediately start processing the list of candidates for the entire region,” he added. (MindaNews)