IT was the first day of filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoC) for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections last Saturday, April 14, and “surprisingly, more than what we expected came to file their CoCs,” Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman James Jimenez said.
Candidates in the previous elections commonly filed their certificates only on the last day of the filing period, possibly an indication that interest in running for office was often a last-minute decision. The Comelec spokesman also noted that close to half of the filers were women and a significant number were senior citizens.
The big number of early filers can be attributed to the fact that these elections have not been held since 2013 and interest in them has been gathering all these years. The last time these were held was on October 20, 2013 – five years ago. The one in October 2016, was cancelled due to “election fatigue” and moved to October 2017.
Then this was again moved to May 2018, as President Duterte said many barangay officials had won because of drug money and were likely to win reelection. As May 2018 neared, there was yet another move in the House of Representatives to postpone the elections anew, but this time the Senate did not go along.
So we are finally holding the barangay and SK elections this coming May 14, 2018. The Comelec expects many more to file their CoCs in the coming days until the last day for filing on Friday, April 20. They will have about two weeks to campaign before election day, May 14, Monday.
The Comelec, now headed by Acting Chairman Al Pareno, following the resignation of Chairman Andres Bautista, has asked President Duterte to declare May 14 a special non-working holiday, so that Filipinos will be given all the opportunity to exercise their right of suffrage.
After all these years that the elections for barangay and Sangguiang Kabataan officials were cancelled for various reasons, the people look forward to them.