PDP Laban Appeals to Comelec to Reopen the Filing of COC
The Philippine Democratic Party-People’s Power (PDP Laban) has filed a petition to Commission on Election to reopen the filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC).
President Rodrigo Duterte’s party has filed a petition with the Comelec, requesting that the COC for the 2022 elections be reopened. The ruling party also seeks to halt the printing of ballots due to pending cases involving aspirants and party-lists.
According to Lawyer Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of PDP Laban, “the party believes that the Comelec should reopen and allow the filing of CoC for National and Local candidates in view of the fact that it cannot, and should not, proceed with printing of ballots for the 2022 elections while several cases affecting candidates and party-lists are still pending before it.”
“We are asking the Comelec to review its self-imposed deadlines in the interest of the electorate. This petition will benefit everyone and should be intently considered by the Commission,” he added.
The group said they filed the petition because their presidential bet, Sen. Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, withdrew his COC on 13 November, barely two days before the end of the withdrawal and substitution period. They stated that Comelec should be open to accepting COC as late as February 7, 2022, citing the Philippines’ Omnibus Election Code (Batas Pambansa Blg. 881).
Section 75, Article 9 of the said law provides that the COC “shall be filed on any day from the commencement of the election period but not later than the day before the beginning of the campaign period.” Based on Comelec’s Calendar of Activities, the campaign period for nationally-elected positions will begin on 8 February to 7 May 2022.
Meanwhile, the local election campaign season will run from March 25 to May 7, 2022. If the clause had been applied to the upcoming 2022 elections, the deadlines for filing COCs would have ended on 7 February 2022 for national seats and 24 March 2022 for local seats, according to PDP Laban.
They pointed out that Republic Act (RA) no. 7166, which allows for synchronized national and local elections as well as electoral reforms, also allowed for the submission of COC until the stated dates. They also mentioned R.A. No. 8436 said that they would be able to submit a COC until January 9, 2022 if they did so.
Prior to de la Rosa’s selection as PDP Laban’s presidential candidate, the party ran Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as its standard-bearer, with President Duterte as his running partner. Initially, Go submitted his COC for vice president, but he later changed parties and campaigned for president.
When De la Rosa dropped out of the presidential candidacy, Go was left without a running mate. In the end, Go dropped the presidential candidacy a month after, like Duterte who had filed his bid for senator. The administration’s party has opted to run a senatorial slate in the 2018 elections.
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