DAVAO CITY – The Commission on Elections here is ready for the filing of the certificate of candidacies (COC) starting Monday next week (October 12).

Election officer Atty. Danilo Cullo of 2nd District said they are already prepared to receive COCs next Monday until Friday.

He said local candidates may secure forms from the Comelec office or from the Comelec’s website.

Cullo said, the Comelec’s First District office is designated to receive the COC.

“The filing of COC for Davao City is in the first district because it is in the rule that if a city is composed of two or more districts, the regional director will designate one of the election officers to receive the COC,” he said.

Cullo emphasized that those who wish to file a COC must also file the statement of contribution and expenditures (SOCE) a month after the election. He said many local candidates were penalized because of failing to submit their Soce. However, Cullo refused to name the candidates.

Cullo added that the “COC must be duly notarized and (must have) documentary stamp.”

He said that if the candidate will have someone file his COC on his behalf, the Comelec has a prescribed form where there is a Special Power of Attorney needed by the representative.

The officer also said drug test for the filing of candidacy is not required by the law.

Meanwhile, Cullo clarified the issue on premature campaigning and said that under the Automation Law, a person who filed his COC is not yet considered as a candidate until the time of the start of the campaign period.

“So regarding the premature campaigning, those who they call as ‘epal’ candidates with early exposures, it’s beyond the control of the Comelec,” he said.

“The prohibition will only start upon the start of the campaign period,” he said.

However, he said they are letting the public decide on who are the politicians who engage in premature campaigning.

“Nakikita nila what kind of candidate these people are, so sila na ang bahala dyan (The people can see what kind these candidates are, so it’s up to them),” he said.

Cullo said out of the 389,374 voters in the first district 323,652 have complete biometrics; in the second district from the total of 269,189 registered voters, 230,686 have complete biometrics, while out of 255,090 registered voters in third district, 228,333 have complete biometrics, as of Saturday (October 3).

He said it is still difficult for them to quantify how many voters are unregistered.

“Because they are just at large and we do not know them. What we can only determine are those who have registered but have no biometrics,” he said.

Cullo said the filing of biometrics will also be suspended to give way for the filing of candidacy. As per Comelec Resolution No. 9853, which took effect last May 6, 2014, the deadline of capturing a voter’s biometrics is until October 31.

“We will resume after the filing of the COC,” said Cullo.(davaotoday.com)

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