Comelec unlikely to extend period of filing of COCs

By Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 14 2013 02:05 PM | Updated as of Oct 14 2013 10:05 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections is unlikely to extend the period of filing of Certificates of Candidacy even for provinces severely damaged by Typhoon Santi.

Commissioner Grace Padaca said they have yet to receive information whether the filing of the COC's were affected in areas heavily hit by the typhoon.

She said that it would be very difficult as the campaign period would immediately start the day after the deadline on the 17th.

Padaca said that they already lengthened the filing period to six days to accommodate all candidates running for barangay positions. Comelec offices all over the country will remain open tomorrow, a holiday, to receive the COCs of candidates.

Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said that after the filing, the Comelec will still have to go over the COC's to filter unqualified candidates for the barangay elections.

Guia said that they are looking to have a more responsive system to act on complaints against the qualifications of candidates as well as violations on campaign rules.

"Ngayon lang magkakaroon ng effectivity ang batas that will hold these candidates liable (on election offenses) kasi nagfile na sila ng COC," Guia said.

The commissioner said that petitions for disqualification against barangay candidates can be acted upon by the Commission if they were filed before the proclamation of said candidate.

If the complaint against a candidate is filed after the elections, the Comelec can act as a preliminary investigation body for the election offense, which is considered criminal in nature, and then recommend the filing of criminal charges in the appropriate court. A conviction of an election offense could warrant 1-6 years of imprisonment and then disqualification of a winning candidate.