MANILA, Philippines – A total of 607 individuals filed certificates of candidacy (COCs) to be district members of the House of Representatives in the 16th Congress.
Based on records from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), 151 individuals filed under the Liberal Party; 54 under the Nationalist People's Coalition; 51 under the United Nationalist Alliance; 31 under the Nacionalista Party; 27 under the National Unity Party; 19 under the Lakas CMD; and 4 under the Ang Kapatiran Party.
The rest belong to the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino and various local parties.
Of the 607 people who filed COCs, 155 are independent candidates.
Seventeen candidates are unopposed, led by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, Josephine Lacson-Noel in Malabon, Theresa Bonoan-David in Manila, Marcelino Teodoro in Marikina, Christopher Belmonte in Quezon City, Rachel Arenas and Marlyn Primicias Aggabas in Pangasinan, Dakila Enriquez Cua in Quirino, Enrique Cojuangco in Tarlac, Joseph Violago in Nueva Ecija, Joel Duavit and Isidro Rodriguez in Rizal, Reynaldo Umali in Oriental Mindoro, Martin Romualdez in Leyte, Maria Careman Zamora and Rommel Amatong in Compostela Valley and boxing champion Manny Pacquiao in Sarangani.
Three party-list representatives in the 15th Congress now want to secure district seats in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Akbayan party-list Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, 1Care party-list Rep. Salvador Cabaluna III and Ang Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco have all filed certificates of candidacy for Dinagat Islands, Aklan and Iloilo, respectively.
Bag-ao filed her district candidacy as Akbayan party-list tries to stare down a disqualification case.
Bag-ao maintains she has not left the Akbayan party despite having filed her candidacy as a Liberal Party candidate. Bag-ao adds it was her choice to run in Dinagat Islands.
“The opportunity to serve the people of Dinagat arose again after the Supreme Court upheld its creation as a province. People have encouraged me to seek election as its district representative. I see this as an opportunity to give back to my province what I owe it. Naisip ko natulungan ko ang ibang mga tao. Panahon na rin para makatulong ako sa aking mga kaprobinsya, mga kaibigan, kapitbahay at mga kapamilya ko. Ito ang diwa ng aking desisyong tumakbo sa Dinagat Islands," she said.
Bag-ao is a prosecutor in the impeachment trial of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Cabaluna's 1Care has been barred by the Comelec en banc from running in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Unlike Bag-ao, Cabaluna was let go by his party-list group as a nominee.
“You can recall that the nomination for party-list was done in May 2012 yet as mandated by Comelec. I was not nominated by the party in the selection process, so I decided to run as district representative. The statement that I left the party is not correct. I am still a member of the party but no longer a nominee for 2013 elections,” said Cabaluna.
Meantime, Haresco has not returned ABS-CBN's inquiry. Haresco is in the middle of a controversy as he has been implicated by Senator Serge Osmena in the allegedly anomalous President's Bridges Program.