MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday said it will accept certificates of candidacy (COCs) from all those who are seeking to join the May 2022 national and local polls.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said they will also receive COCs from people who have been declared nuisance candidates in the past.
“Because maybe they are no longer nuisance now. We can’t say that just because in the past you have been declared as nuisance and circumstances have changed now,” he said in a press briefing at the start of the filing of COCs at the Harbor Garden Tent, Sofitel Manila in Pasay City.
“We have to take each case as it comes,” he added.
Jimenez said the COCs will undergo a screening process before they will come up with the final list of candidates.
“Remember, when we accept the COC they are not yet the final list of candidates, there is a process that these COCs go through before they are given due course before they reach our final list of candidates. There will be an opportunity if in case identified a potential nuisance candidate, there will be an opportunity for them to defend their candidacy. There will be a hearing for that if necessary. Otherwise, the criteria provided by law are fairly self-explanatory,” he said.
Jimenez said nuisance candidates are people “who have filed the COC without a bonafide intention to run for office (and they) include people who filed their COC to cause mockery to the election system, and people who filed their COC with the intention of misleading the public, if fit in these categories then you will risk being declared as nuisance candidate.”
He also discouraged those who have filed their COCs from engaging in premature campaigning.
“We know that it is premature because the campaign period has not yet begun, but according to the case of Penera vs. Comelec, they will not be punished or there will be no consequences for that. So yes, they can start campaigning although I would discourage that because that can be considered as premature campaigning even though it’s not punishable by law,” Jimenez added. (PNA)