Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Comelec: 75 percent of COC filers “not serious"

12/03/2009 | 05:01 AM

Noting that the number of political aspirants that filed certificates of candidacy (COC) for national posts in the 2010 elections was record breaking, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) nevertheless said Wednesday that only 25 percent of these seem to be serious.

“We estimate 25 percent serious. I think 75 percent maybe not so serious," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told reporters on Tuesday, a day after the period for the filing of COCs ended.

The filing of COCs at the Comelec main office, which ran from November 20 until midnight of December 1, drew 99 presidential hopefuls compared to 84 in 2004. Of the 84, only five were considered official candidates.

On the other hand, there are 20 vice presidential candidates who filed their COCs this year, which is one candidate shy of the 21 in the previous national elections. Of the 21, only four were allowed to run during the 2004 election proper.

For senatorial aspirants, a total of 158 filed for next year, compared to only 88 in 2004 only which 48 were declared official candidates.

Jimenez said the Comelec Law Department is currently processing the list of candidates who filed their COCs.

“The law department is currently studying the list of candidates for president, vice-president, and senator, and we expect them to submit to en banc a recommendation in the next few days," he said.

Law Department head Ferdinand Rafanan said those who oppose the candidacy of a person have five days from the last day of COC-filing to submit a verified position, saying that the poll body may also tackle the cases “motu propio" or on its own.

“There are some individuals who plan to file cases against some candidates. This will be a big factor when we can finalize the list," added Jimenez.

Earlier, the spokesman said that during the last elections, the poll body held a hearing where they gave aspirants a chance to defend why they should not be regarded as nuisance candidates.

According to Comelec Resolution No. 8678, a nuisance candidate is one who “put(s) the election process in mockery or disrepute," “cause(s) confusion among the voters by the similarity of names of registered candidates," or one who “has no bona fide intention to run for the office."

Rafanan said it would be up to the commission to decide when to release the names of those deemed as nuisance candidates. He said the target date is by middle of December. “This will be a very busy Christmas for the Comelec," he said.

He, however, clarified that the official list of candidates would be released on a later date, probably by the end of December.

A total of 17, 888 government seats are up for grabs in the 2010 elections. There is one slot for president and vice president each; 12 for senators; 222 for Lower House representatives; 80 for governors and vice governors; 762 for provincial board members; 120 for city mayors and vice mayors; 1,514 for municipal mayors and vice mayors; 1,346 for city councilors; and 12,116 for municipal councilors.

A total of 68,000 candidates ran in the May 2004 elections while some 46,000 aspirants filed their COCs in the 2007 local elections. - GMANews.TV


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