THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Mandaue City said candidates for the local elections are not required to present negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results during the certificate of candidacy (COC) filing from October 1 to 8, 2021.
It can be recalled that the Comelec National Office directed 2022 elections candidates to present negative RT-PCR test results before filing their COCs.
Lawyer Anna Fleur Abelgas-Gujilde, election officer of Comelec-Mandaue, clarified to Sunstar Cebu that the negative RT-PCR test results are only required for national candidates.
Gujilde said they only require local candidates in Mandaue to present a health declaration form upon filing of COC to prove that they are not experiencing any flu-like symptoms and have no direct contact with persons who tested positive for coronavirus.
She added local officials are only required to bring two companions upon filing and must wait outside the Comelec office.
Gujilde said it is up to the candidate if they want to present a negative RT-PCR test before the Comelec.
After the Comelec released Resolution No. 10717 or the "No negative test result, No access to Certificate of Candidacy filing" policy, it gained negative reactions from local officials in Mandaue City.
City Councilors Joel Seno, Cynthia Ceniza-Remedio, Nerissa Soon-Ruiz and Malcolm Sanchez said the Comelec must revisit the directive, particularly in case a candidate tests positive for coronavirus.
They said once a candidate will test positive, the quarantine period would take longer than the deadline established by the Comelec.
Seno said he is in favor of Comelec-Mandaue’s protocols for local candidates, adding that his sentiments about policy extends to national candidates.
He said the Comelec still needs to revisit its guidelines and at least extend the period for the filing of COCs. (KFD)