Barangay election hopefuls troop to Comelec-A A +A
Saturday, October 12, 2013
MORE than a hundred candidates trooped to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Cagayan de Oro City on Friday to file their certificate of candidacies (COCs) for the barangay elections on October 28.
Arthur Dael of Barangay Patag and Fred Daayata of Barangay Baikingon, a hinterland village, were the first to file their COCs for barangay chairperson and councilor, respectively.
As of 11:45 a.m., there were a total of three candidates who filed their COCs for barangay chairperson from barangay Patag; two from Baikingon; one from Iponan.
For barangay kagawads, Baikingon has 20 hopefuls that have already filed their COCs; four from Barangay Bulua; four from Canitoan; nine from Iponan; and 10 from Patag.
New COC forms
According to a city Comelec staff, some filed their COCs using the old form, but were directed to fill out the updated ones instead.
A printing establishment in front of the Comelec office sells new COC forms for P10 a set (four copies) as the Elections office announced the shortage of forms.
But the candidates can download the COC forms on Comelec website www.comelec.gov.ph and reproduce it.
Barangay Lapasan chairperson Omar Labuntog bought his COC form at the said store. But most of those who filed their COCs asked the forms from Comelec.
Misamis Oriental Comelec officer, lawyer Carlito Ravelo, clarified that the election aspirants have the option to either download the forms or easily buy it from any Comelec accredited stores including the establishment in front of the city Comelec office.
Ravelo said the filing of COCs has been extended until October 17 from its original closing date, October 15, to give more time for candidates to exercise their right to run for public office.
Comelec is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. without extension and only from Mondays to Fridays. The campaign period kicks off on October 18.
“Labi na gyud dinhi sa Cagayan de Oro kay daku nga lugar (Especially here in Cagayan de Oro since this is a huge area),” Ravelo said.
He urged the aspirants to file their respective COCs early to avoid the rush especially when Comelec notes some concerns on their documents to resolve them immediately.
Lou Nacalaban, who seeks public office as barangay councilor, filed his COC Friday morning taking advantage of the first day of filing where it was loose compared with the coming days.
Nacalaban, who ran for barangay chairperson in Barangay Puntod during the 2010 barangay elections but lost said, “Puntod Barangay Hall needs real leaders that prioritize programs and projects for the betterment of their constituents.”
Smooth and orderly
Barangay councilor Everado Febrero of Patag, said ‘so far, so good’ referring to the orderly filing of candidacy procedures at Comelec.
Election assistant Hope Damasing told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that Comelec assigned two staff to each section, and they have a total of eight sections that are tasked to accept COCs from specific barangays.
She added that although their office is small but it was able to accommodate the applicants.
“Kung ingnon maglinya, maglinya man pud sila (When we asked them to fall in line they obeyed),” said Damasing citing the candidates followed instructions.
“Wala pami naka-encounter og problems (So far we have not encountered any problems),” said Attorney Alelia Dayo-Ramirez, city election officer IV.
As of September 11, the city Comelec installed 16 full-time staff to facilitate the COCs of the aspirants in the city.
Ramirez discourages trooping to the office at one time since the aspirants are given six days to file their COCs.
“Kung dili ang bag-o nga COC ang gigamit dili gyud namo dawaton (If they are not using the new COC we will not accept the application),” said Ramirez pointing out that the new COC has a statement of expenditures.
Alma Tingson of Barangay Patag said one week before the filing of COCs a new form was sent to the Comelec that is why her application rejected.
“Dapat nag-download ko online (I should have downloaded it online),” said Tingson.
John Michael Artajo, a former Sangguniang Kabataan president running for barangay councilor, said the flow of the application process is okay but the place is a bit crowded.
“Mas maayo nga naka-schedule pud per barangay (It would have been better if it was scheduled per barangay),” said Artajo when asked what could be done to make the application process more efficient.
Artajo said it is better to come early to file applications because the crowd is less compared in the afternoon.
Independent candidate Angelito Potane of Barangay Bugo said the Comelec office is too small to accommodate all the applicants.
Potane added: “they lack staff to assess all the applicants.”
Based on the interviews of this reporter, the candidates who filed on the first day morning are optimistic that they are going to win the elections saying: “I am a winnable candidate.”
Qualified to become candidates are Filipinos, 18 years of age and above, can read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of at least a year in certain barangay. The drug test is no longer one a pre-requisite for the coming barangay polls. Drug testing was implemented in the last elections.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 12, 2013.