MANILA - The official list of candidates for the 2019 elections will be released within January, the Commission on Elections said Monday.
The printing of the ballots is slated to begin around January 23 to 25, and the list should be released before that, said Comelec spokesman James Jimenez.
The roster would indicate that the poll body has ruled on the cases of aspirants whose candidacies were challenged and they "have already been given the opportunity to take advantage of the remedies." Exclusion from the list would mean the candidates' names would not be printed on the ballot, said Jimenez.
"It’s important for candidates themselves to be proactive in ensuring that their cases are decided and that they have had the opportunity to avail of the remedies," he told ANC's Headstart.
Among the prominent personalities with this dilemma are Sergio Osmeña III and Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, who are both seeking a Senate seat.
Jimenez said he does not know yet if the Comelec en banc has decided on the cases of the 2 senatorial aspirants, but this would be confirmed in the list to be released, because the roll would be withheld pending the "certificates of finality," which indicate there has been a ruling and the parties are given the opportunity to file an appeal.
The Comelec's campaign finance office was seeking to “perpetually disqualify” Osmeña from any government post for allegedly twice failing to meet the requirement to declare campaign expenses.
The former lawmaker, who only ranked 14th in the 2016 senatorial race, admitted that he did not file his statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) in the last elections, but maintained that he submitted one in 2010 though it was months after he took his oath as a senator.
Pimentel, meanwhile, faces a challenge to his reelection bid, with a petition before the poll body questioning whether he can still run for another 6-year term, having won in 2007 and again in 2013.
His camp, however, said there was “involuntary interruption” to his first term because he only assumed the position in 2011 after a successful election protest against Juan Miguel Zubiri, who initially edged him out of the Top 12.
"In this case, mag-a-apply ka lang naman ng batas. It’s a matter of record that this happened to Sen. Koko Pimentel, it’s a matter of record that this is what the jurisprudence, just apply it," he said.