By Stephanie Sevillano

COC FILING.Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairperson George Erwin Garcia conducts inspection for the first day of filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) on Monday (Aug. 28, 2023) at the SM Supermalls in Manila. Garcia cited encountering an unprecedented volume of COC filers during the first day. (Photo courtesy of Comelec)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday warned aspiring candidates for the Barangay at Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) from submitting fake or incomplete documents for their certificate of candidacy (COC).

On the first day of COC filing in Manila, Comelec Chairperson George Erwin Garcia said there was an aspiring candidate who allegedly submitted a fake birth certificate to revise his actual age.

Wala kaming pakialam sa birth certificates niyo, ang pagbabasehan namin ‘yung record ng Comelec, ‘yung voter’s registration record sapagkat kayo mismo nag-accomplish noon (We don’t care about your birth certificates, we will have the Comelec records as the basis, the voter’s registration record because that’s what you have accomplished before),” Garcia said in an interview. 

Garcia said all Comelec officials and personnel will counter-check their submitted requirements. 

Akala ganun kami magiging maluwag sa pagpa-file ng COC. Muli, hindi namin tatanggapin ang mga certificates of candidacy na kulang-kulang, may mga blangko, mga overaged na SK candidates, at nung mga di registered voters natin (They thought we would be lenient in COC filing. Again, we will not accept incomplete COCs, with blanks, or overaged candidates and the non-registered ones),” he added. 

Unprecedented volume of COC filers

Garcia, however, expressed delight in witnessing the “vibrance” of the electoral process in the country. 

He cited encountering an unprecedented volume of COC filers during the first day. 

Aaminin namin, hindi namin inaanticipate na ganito karami kaagad ang magpa-file ng candidacy sa unang araw (We admit, we didn’t anticipate such a number of individuals filing the COC on the first day),” he added. 

In Manila districts 1, 2 and 4, the Comelec has imposed a cut-off to afternoon newcomers, catering only to those who have lined up early in the morning. 

“‘Yung nag-queue po at nagpa-list in the morning ay almost 3 days of COC filing. Hindi na po talaga kakayanin to think na hanggang 5 p.m. lang talaga (Those who queued and enlisted this morning were almost three days [volume] of COC filing. We cannot do it to think that it’s only until 5 p.m.),” Garcia told reporters in a Viber message. 

Meanwhile, the Comelec is expecting around 2 million aspiring candidates for the BSKE.

In total, 672,432 positions need to be filled. These account for 42,027 positions for Punong Barangay and another 42,027 positions for SK Chairpersons. 

Around 294,189 seats should also be filled for each Sangguniang Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan group. (PNA)