Comelec moves date of COC filling for BSKE to August

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman George Erwin Garcia announced on Wednesday, March 22, that the Commission En Banc has decided to move the date of filing of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

In a message sent to reporters, Garcia stated that from the initial date of July 3 from July 3 to July 7 to Aug. 28 to Sept. 2.

"Due to operational and administrative reasons," Garcia said in a message.

It can be recalled that Sen. Francis Tolentino appealed to the poll body to postpone the COC filing to August. Parañaque 2nd District Rep. Gus Tambunting also expressed opposition to the poll body's plan to set the COC filing in July. According to him, the move poses several problems that may compromise the integrity and safety of the electoral process.

Meanwhile, Garcia explained that it was not only due to the calls made by lawmakers to adjust the schedule of the COC filing. He said that they wanted all sectors to be prepared from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the electoral board members.

"Likewise, after reviewing our process, we believe that we can decide nuisance and disqualification cases expeditiously before the election," he stated.

Despite this, Garcia mentioned that it will not affect the calendar of activities.

In Resolution 10899 promulgated on Feb. 22 released by Comelec, it disclosed a new calendar of activities and periods of certain prohibited acts in connection with the BSKE. According to the resolution, the election period will also be in effect with the start of the COC filing until Nov. 14, 2023.

Comelec set the campaign period on Oct. 19 to Oct. 28.

Earlier, the Commission en banc also decided that a person who will file a COC will immediately be considered a candidate. They did this despite the presence of the 2009 Supreme Court (SC) landmark decision on the Peñera vs Comelec case, or the Peñera Doctrine which voids the prohibition on premature campaigning.

Garcia explained that because from the time of the filing of the COCs up to the day before the campaign period, candidates were "boldly committing" premature campaigning not afraid of any consequences in view of the Peñera doctrine.