By Leslie Ann Aquino
The deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the May 14 Barangay and SangguniangKabataanElections (BSKE) will not be extended, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Wednesday.
“We have no plans of extending. As we speak, April 20 is still the last day of the filing of COCs and our office hour is still from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.,”Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
As of April 17, the total number of BSKE COCs nationwide is already 305,082.
The Comelec expected an influx of filers on Wednesday, April 18, the fifth day of COC filing, citing the significance of the No. 8 in Chinese FengShui numerology, a number considered lucky by some people.
“FengShui adherents view the lucky number as a representation of prosperity and abundance, hence they are expected to flock to various Offices of the Election Officer (OEOs) nationwide at exactly 8 in the morning of April 18, 2018,” Director Frances AguindadaoArabe of the Education and Information Department, said in a statement last Tuesday.
Apart from the expected influx of filer on Wednesday, Jimenez said the poll body expects more as the deadline for the period of filing nears.
“We anticipate that we will be more busy over the coming few days as the end of the period of filing nears,” said Jimenez.
Once the period of filing ends, Jimenez said the COCs will be brought to their central office in Intramuros, Manila for evaluation.
“We need to finish that in two weeks because we still need to come out with an official list of candidates,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Comelec reminded candidates to file their statements of election contributions and expenditures (SOCE) not later than June 13, 2018, or risk being perpetually disqualified to hold public office.
“Win or lose, all candidates must file their SOCE,” Jimenez said.
A candidate is any person seeking an elective public office who has filed a COC.
Last April 13, the Comelec Campaign Finance Office (CFO) published on the website a list of 105 candidates declared with finality by the Commission as perpetually disqualified to hold public office due to repeated failure to file their SOCE after elections. “We have always said that the barangay is where the public directly experience our government,” said Jimenez.
“Therefore, our frontline public officials must be sterling exemplars of upright, law-abiding citizens to the public whom they pledge to serve,” he added.
Section 14 of R.A. 7166 requires the filing of SOCE, and failure to do so prohibits winning candidates from entering upon the duties of their office until they have complied.
The commission of a second or subsequent failure to file the SOCE subjects the offender to perpetual disqualification to hold public office.