Barangay bets swarm Comelec
MANILA, Philippines - A horde of aspirants for barangay positions flocked to Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices to file their certificates of candidacy (COCs) yesterday at the start of the six-day filing period, with many explaining they wanted to avoid bad weather due to two typhoons.
At the Comelec main office in Arroceros, Manila, poll officials and employees were surprised at the influx of filers.
“We really did not expect this because candidates usually shy away from filing on the first day,” said Jayvee Villagracia, election officer for the first district of Manila.
Villagracia said they were used to seeing the bulk of filers on the last day, which in this case falls on Oct. 17.
“Most likely tomorrow there will be less applicants, and then (there will be many) again on the last day. We will think of a better system to accommodate them,” he said.
One of the early filers, 60-year-old Noel Malapitan, said he decided to file his COC as councilman of Barangay 47, Zone 23 in the first district of Manila because of the bad weather.
“A typhoon is coming so I thought it is better to file my COC now. Why delay what I can do now,” he said.
On the other hand, Salvador Legaspi, also seeking to become a barangay councilor, decided to file his COC early in response to the call of the Comelec.
Comelec urged potential bets not to wait for the last day so that if there were questions in their COCs, they would still have time to correct them.
“The Comelec is right. It’s about time we do away with our habit of doing things on the last minute. We don’t know what is going to happen so at least I’m already assured that I have filed by COC,” Legaspi said.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said there are candidates filing their COCs on the date favorable to their feng shui for good luck.
“I had some clients before who wanted to file on certain days because they were told by their feng shui masters that those were lucky days for them. There are things like that. But I was not able to check if it was true,” he said.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., meanwhile, reiterated his call for those who filed their COCs to take down their posters, streamers and other propaganda materials, warning they could be charged for election offense.
Brillantes said the campaign period would not start until Oct. 18.
“The tarpaulins should be removed now. Take away everything that carry your photographs,” he said.
The filing of COCs runs from Oct. 11 to 17, except Oct. 13.
The Comelec is expecting more than 600,000 applicants for the barangay polls where voters in each of the 42,028 barangays nationwide will choose one barangay chairman and seven councilmen.
The Comelec in Southern Mindanao, however, placed 391 barangays in its watchlist and identified them as “areas of concern.”
Compostela Valley has been reported to have the most number of election hotspots with 101 barangays in the poll watchlist.
Police said some of the villages are located in remote areas where the heavy presence of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) is reported.
The Comelec main office in Manila said they have not received any reports of untoward incidents or any problems from its field offices.
Elsewhere, however, there were reports of violence breaking out ahead of the campaign period for the elections.
A re-electionist barangay councilor was shot dead while a bystander was wounded by two men on a motorcycle in Kabacan town in North Cotabato late Thursday.
Police said Ronald Casimina, a member of the barangay council of Bangilan, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding gunmen while on his way home.
A stray bullet hit a certain Marvin Placion nearby. – Edith Regalado, John Unson, Jun Elias, Raymund Catindig, Gerry Lee Gorit