Merry mix of early birds for senatorial polls

Reelectionist Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, folk singer Freddie Aguilar and former Bayan party-list representative Neri Colmenares were among the first 23 senatorial aspirants that filed their certificates of candidacy during the first day of filing at the Commission on Elections office in Intramuros, Manila.

READ: More hopefuls join the rush

Merry mix of early birds for senatorial polls
From left to right: Pimentel, Tomawis, Chavez, Ong, and Magtira
READ: Duterte’s aides join poll race

Among the senatorial hopefuls were former Health department consultant Willie Ong; former Makati policeman Abner L. Afuang; and Samira Tomawis, a Maranao and Liberal Party candidate from Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

At least 13 new and existing party-list and groups filed their certificate of nomination and certificates of acceptance of nomination during the first day of filing.

Kabayan Party-list, Partido Lakas ng Masa, a coalition consisting of Teacher’s Dignity Coalition, Sanlakas, Oriang, Ako Bisdak-Bisayang Dako were among the first to file their CON at the Comelec.

A number of new party-list groups also went to the Comelec, including the Guardian party-list group, which was not accredited during the previous filing.

The party-list was composed of janitors, riders, utility helpers and security guards.

One Unified Transport Alliance of the Philippines (1-UTAP) party-list Bicol chapter filed its CoC led by Exequiel Longares, who said his group supports the transportation modernization in the country.

Other groups that filed were Partido ng Bayan ang Bida party-list, PBA party-list, Manila Teacher’s party-list, Ang National Coalition of Indigenous People (ANAC IP) party-list, ABONO party-list, Coalition of Association of Senior Citizen and Butil Farmers party-list.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said candidates seeking a senatorial post must have the capacity to conduct a nationwide campaign.

The Comelec spokesperson said it has yet to decide who would be qualified and who would be considered as nuisance candidates in the coming weeks.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said individuals who do not have genuine intentions of running for the 2019 elections must not file a COC to avoid making a mockery of the democratic process.

The Comelec also released the schedule of activities for the midterm elections, as follows: Resolution No. 10429, promulgated on Oct. 1, 2018, sets the Election Period from Jan. 13, 2019 to June 12, 2019. Election Day will be held on a Monday, May 13, 2019.

The filing of certificates of candidacy is set from Oct. 11 to 12 and from Oct. 15 to 17, 2018 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The campaign period for candidates for senator and party-list groups is from Feb. 12, 2019 to May 11, 2019.

Campaign activities, however, are prohibited on April 18, 2019 (Holy Thursday) and April 19, 2019 (Good Friday).

The campaign period for candidates for members of the House of Representatives and elective regional, provincial, city and municipal officials is from March 30, 2019 to May 11, 2019.

Campaigning is prohibited from May 12-13, 2019, which is also the period for the liquor ban. The gun ban runs for the entire election period.

From Nov. 30, 2018 until midday of Election Day, the substitute of an official candidate of a political party or coalition, who died or was disqualified by final judgment, may file their COC, provided that the substitute candidate and the substituted candidate have the same surname.

The last day for all individuals who filed a COC to file their statement of contributions and expenditures (SOCE) is on June 12, 2019. 

Pimentel said he decided to file his COC at the first hour of the filing period for personal reasons.

“I would like to get this out of my mind and focus on my wedding next week. I’m getting married next week,” said the lawmaker after filing his COC at the third floor of the Palacio del Gobernador building in Intramuros.

The senator’s first marriage to former Miss Universe Jewel Lobaton, with whom he had two boys, was annulled.

Pimentel said he is seeking reelection since he has “unfinished legislative business to be pursued in the Senate.”

Pimentel is running under the administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

The former Senate president said that there are six to seven more candidates that will be running for senatorial seats under the party.

Aguilar, a known supporter of Duterte, said he is also running under PDP-Laban.

Asked if his move to join the May 2019 polls has the blessing of President Duterte, he said no.

“The common people convinced me,” he said in Filipino. “Although, I spoke with SAP (special assistant to the President, Christopher) Bong Go and I asked if they are going to help and he said they will.”

Senator JV Ejercito said he could use his father, President’s Joseph Estrada’s last name, in seeking re-election.

Speaking in a forum Thursday, Ejercito said not using “Estrada” might affect his chance of winning the elections based on the results of the SWS and Pulse Asia surveys.

Ejercito’s half-brother, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, has also announced he is running despite his detention on plunder charges. Ejercito said this could be the first time that two brothers are running for the Senate.

He acknowledged this could cause some confusion.

Pimentel said that while the PDP-Laban would run only seven candidates, it plans to endorse at least five guest candidates from different parties.

He declined to name them but said the President had vowed to support these aspirants in the coming elections.

Some 18,000 positions are up for grabs in the May 13, 2019 elections, according to a Comelec memorandum. Among these posts are: 12 senators; 59 party-list representatives; 238 district representatives; 81 governors; 81 vice governors; 776 provincial board members; 145 city mayors; 145 city vice mayors; 1,624 city councilors; 1,489 municipal mayors; 1,489 municipal vice mayors; 11,916 municipal councilors; 1 ARMM governor; 1 ARMM vice governor; and 24 ARMM assemblymen.

Merry mix of early birds for senatorial polls
From left to right: Afuang, Roleda, Aguilar, and Colmenares
The Philippine National Police said it would provide security to qualified candidates for next year’s midterm elections. With Nat Mariano and PNA

READ: PDP-Laban trims Senate bets’ list

READ: Cabinet men gunning for Senate seats

READ: JV unhappy he and Jinggoy both eye Senate seat in 2019

Topics: Aquilino Pimentel III , Freddie Aguilar , Neri Colmenares , Commission on Elections , Willie Ong
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