Mayor dismayed by early filing of candidacy papers-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Thursday, October 11, 2012
BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan recently expressed his objection to political parties substituting candidates when another candidate withdraws from the May 2013 elections.
The mayor also told reporters on Monday of his reservations to early filing of certificates of candidacy (COC), as he claimed many will be taking advantage of this to campaign prematurely.
He also questioned the early filing of COCs of candidates set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) only to be substituted by their parties before December 21.
“I don’t see any logic. If that’s the case, then they should have made December 21 the deadline of filing of the COCs,” he said.
Comelec Baguio-Benguet provincial election supervisor Elenita Julia Tabangin-Capuyan, meanwhile, said if an official candidate of a duly registered political party or coalition of political parties dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, substitution by a candidate belonging to, and nominated by, the same political party may take pace.
However, she said no substitution will be allowed for any independent candidate.
In substitution of a candidate who has withdrawn, the political party member who will substitute may file a COC not later than December 21, so the name of the substitute will be reflected on the official ballots. No substitution due to withdrawal will be allowed after December 21.
A substitute for a candidate who died before the elections or is disqualified by final judgment may file a COC up to election day, provided the substitute and the substituted candidate have the same surnames.
The Comelec officer said a candidate who has withdrawn his candidacy for a position will not be eligible, whether as substitute candidate, for any other position in the May 13, 2013 national and local elections.
The Omnibus Election Code states any person who has filed a COC may, at any time before the election date, file personally a statement of withdrawal under oath in five legible copies with Comelec where the COC was filed.
Amid Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes’ calls of delicadeza among those who registered for next year’s elections, the mayor said they will be performing their regular functions but it is always misinterpreted as early campaigning.
“Why are they now calling for delicadeza when they are the ones who scheduled early filing of COCs. Why make filing COCs early? We do not like to violate rules for early campaigning,” he said.
The mayor said he hopes the events where he is invited by organizers will not be misconstrued as early campaigning.
“If they invite us, we will come. But one could always be misinterpreted. If you go to a program they will say you are campaigning,” the mayor said.
Before formalizing his bid for reelection last week, he said it is already part of his attitude to visit burial wakes as well as become godfather in weddings and baptisms.
“It is always misunderstood and twisted by the opponent as early campaigning. It is always us the incumbents who gets accusations of premature campaigning even if it is the nature of our job,” he said.
The mayor added that early filing will also mean early spending for candidates as many would already come to them to solicit money for all events like barangay competitions, donations to celebrations and reunions and advertisements in the media.
Republic Act 9369, or the Poll Automation Law, states that: “Any person, who files his certificate of candidacy, shall only be considered as a candidate at the start of the campaign period.”
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 12, 2012.