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‘Serious’ bets file COCs on Day 3

Mayen Jaymalin, Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - It’s the turn of “serious” candidates to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) yesterday.

The largest crowd so far since the start of the filing of COCs gathered early outside the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros as Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and other known public figures arrived one after another to submit their COCs.

Trillanes was accompanied by his wife Arlene and former colonel Ariel Querubin when he filed his COC for vice president. He is running as an independent.

Before Trillanes, former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and actress Alma Moreno filed their COCs for senator.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista went out of his office to personally greet Trillanes. Bautista later left to check the supporters of different politicians staying outside the Comelec premises.

In a press conference later in the day, he said the Comelec sees no reason to extend tomorrow’s deadline for filing of COCs.

Zubiri came with his wife Audrey, while Moreno was accompanied by her children, actor Vandolph and actress Wynwyn Marquez.

Former food security czar and senator Francis Pangilinan, former congresswoman Risa Hontiveros and Mark Lapid of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) also showed up to file their COCs for senator.

“I may not have a popular surname but I trust that the people will support an ordinary person like me,” Hontiveros said.

“The Senate is not simply for old, wealthy and influential politicians. I filed my COC today to assert that there is space in the Senate for ordinary people who have extraordinary aspirations for the country,” she added.

Liberal Party (LP) reelectionist Sen. Franklin Drilon, who was abroad, filed his COC through his brother Cesar.

Lapid was with his wife, actress Tanya Garcia and father, Sen. Lito Lapid.

“Just like my father, I also have a heart for public service... I am running to continue what my father had started. He owes it to those who have not lost their faith in public service that they can truly feel,” he said.

But the biggest crowd drawer yesterday were not the candidates themselves, but their families and supporters from the showbiz industry.

Employees of the Comelec and the Pag-IBIG Fund-Manila Branch went gaga over actresses Vilma Santos and Sharon Cuneta who accompanied their husbands, Sen. Ralph Recto and Pangilinan, in filing their COCs for senators, separately.

The crowd patiently waited to get a glimpse of the two actresses and take selfies with them.

“As a former food security secretary, I saw that poverty can be eliminated by increasing the support for farmers, by increasing the budget for agricultre that will result to having more employment in the countryside,” Pangilinan said.

Former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Francis Tolentino filed his COC as an independent senatorial candidate, along with Sulu Princess Jacel Kiram who is running under the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

Shortly before noon, Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo filed his COC for senator. Although he is registered as an independent candidate, Romulo said he would be running under the party of presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe.

Romulo arrived at the Comelec with his wife Shalani and his father, former foreign affairs chief Alberto Romulo.

No extension

The seemingly unending surge of people submitting COCs is no reason to extend the deadline for filing, Bautista said in a press conference.

Bautista said all candidates running for national and local positions have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to file their COCs.

“By 5 pm. Friday, only the COCs of those who are already in the Comelec building will be accepted,” he said.

As of yesterday, a total of 57 aspirants have filed their COCs for president, 11 for vice president and 53 for senator.

Yesterday alone, 20 presidential bets, four candidates for vice president and 28 senatorial aspirants filed their COCs.

“We expect more senatorial candidates to file their COCs today,” he said.

Political parties, Bautista said, are allowed to replace candidates.

“Substitution is allowed if one candidate of one political party opted to withdraw from the race. The party can then replace or substitute the official candidate,” he explained.

Bautista said all Comelec local offices are required to submit copies of COCs to the main office.

The Comelec will come up with its official roster of candidates after evaluating the COCs.

ACIRC

ALBERTO ROMULO

ALMA MORENO

ANTONIO TRILLANES

ARIEL QUERUBIN

BAUTISTA

BEFORE TRILLANES

CANDIDATES

COCS

COMELEC

FILED

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