The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to limit the number of supporters of candidates during the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for next year’s polls in October.
“We can probably have a limit to candidate and lawyer or family member to join actual filing inside the office. We can also have some barriers to control the crowd. We need that,” Commissioner Antonio Kho said in a virtual forum on Wednesday.
Kho added that they will also implement crowd control measures particularly outside the poll body’s main office in Intramuros, Manila as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
He said the suggestion on crowd control measures came from former poll body commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal.
Under the measure, Larrazabal said chairs will be provided outside the Comelec main office where the candidates will be seated and not allowed to roam around to observe physical distancing.
“During filing, it will not only involve seven to eight serious candidates, it may reach 80 for example for president. There are many nuisance candidates,” he added.
In the same briefing, Macalintal said there should be rules as to the number of people to be allowed inside the premises and also outside during the filing.
“I think it would be best if there is management control of all people joining the filing of COC so that it will not be a pandemonium of sort. Even if there is a scheduled filing, if the crowd will not be controlled, the purpose will not be met. Also, several meters from the Comelec, the area should be cleared. Those who will be allowed are only the candidate and one companion,” Macalintal added.
On the other hand, Kho said the Omnibus Election Code requires candidates who are seeking national and local positions should file their COC personally or through an authorized representative,
As for the possibility of a virtual filing of COCs, he said there has to be a law allowing it.
“It’s the call of Congress, it will depend on them, but as of now, there’s no such move that is substantial in the sense that it will be approved,”
The filing of COCs for next year’s polls will run from October 1 to 8.
National candidates or those running for president, vice president, senator, and party-list seats, must file their respective COCs at the Comelec main office in Intramuros, Manila.
Those vying for congressional and local positions should file their COCs at the local Comelec offices in the city or municipality where they intend to be elected. (Ferdinand Patinio/PNA)