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EDITORIAL: Elections

TODAY, October 11, will be the start of the filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) for aspirants to various posts in the senatorial, congressional and local elections in 2019. More than 18,000 national and local positions are up for grabs in the midterm elections on May 13, 2019. Aspirants to these positions are expected to troop to their respective offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file their certificates of candidacy from October 11 to 12 and from October 15 to 17, 2018. According to Comelec, there will be 12 seats in the Senate to be filled up. There will be 243 district representatives (congressmen) posts to be vied upon, 81 provincial governors and the same number of vice governors, 145 city mayors and 1,489 municipal mayors. A total of 1,628 seats for city councilors will be contested in the respective cities, 780 provincial board members, and 11,916 municipal councilors. There will likewise be electoral contests for ARRM regional governor and vice governor, and 24 ARRM regional assemblymen. Party-list representatives will scamper for the 59 seats allocated. Already, Comelec has warned not to turn the filing of COCs into a ‘circus of supporters.’ The Comelec said it is gearing toward a “dignified” filing of certificates of candidacy for aspirants in the 2019 midterm elections, which to our mind is long overdue. Specifically, aspiring candidates in next year’s electoral exercise can file their COCs on October 11, 12, 15, 16, and 17. The period was reset from the original schedule of October 1-5. The filing period will run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for five days. The Filing of Certificate of Nomination and Certificate of Acceptance of Nomination of Party-List Groups have also been set for the same period. By the way, the Comelec reiterated that no COC filing fee is collected from any candidate. Substitution of candidates following voluntary withdrawal will be allowed until November 29, after which the only withdrawal to be permitted are for candidates who died or were disqualified. Comelec Resolution No. 10429, promulgated on October 1, 2018, sets the Election Period from January 13, 2019 to June 12, 2019. Election Day will be held on a Monday, May 13, 2019. The Campaign Period for candidates for Senator and Party-List Groups participating in the Party List System of Representation is from February 12, 2019 to May 11, 2019, with campaigning prohibited on March 28, 2019 (Holy Thursday) and March 29, 2019 (Good Friday). The Campaign Period for candidates for Members of the House of Representatives and elective Regional, Provincial, City and Municipal Officials, on the other hand, will run from March 30, 2019 to May 11, 2019. Campaigning is prohibited from May 12-13, 2019, which is also the period for the Liquor Ban. The Gun Ban runs for the entire Election Period. The objective of an election is to be able to provide the people with the opportunity to choose the candidate who best represents their ideals, hopes and aspirations. The nature of democracy is that elected officials are accountable to the people, and they must return to the voters at prescribed intervals to seek their mandate to continue in office. For that reason most democratic constitutions provide that elections are held at fixed regular intervals. Leaders who do their jobs well after having been elected to certain posts are usually re-elected by a grateful people who want fair, honest, dynamic and progressive system of governance.

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