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Comelec to limit candidates’ companions

Robertzon Ramirez - The Philippine Star
Comelec to limit candidatesâ companions
Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho said yesterday that this year’s filing of COCs for the 2022 polls will be different from the previous elections where supporters of a potential candidate may gather outside the Comelec offices.
Philstar.com / File

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) plans to limit the number of companions of persons who will file their certificate of candidacy (COC) for the 2022 national and local elections to avoid mass gatherings.

Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho said yesterday that this year’s filing of COCs for the 2022 polls will be different from the previous elections where supporters of a potential candidate may gather outside the Comelec offices.

Kho said that limiting the number of people who will accompany a potential candidate will be part of the poll body’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We will definitely implement that. That will be part of our anti-COVID-19 measures during the COC filing. We can probably limit (the allowed persons) to candidates and lawyers or family members to join the actual filing inside the office,” Kho said.

Kho, who heads the new normal committee of the Comelec, said that limiting the number of persons during the filing of the COC will be discussed during their meeting with other officials of the poll body.

He said that the Comelec has still no concrete plans yet as far as the COC filing is concerned, but there are already plans on how to ensure that the 2022 presidential elections will be safe, clean and credible.

The Comelec has set the filing of the COC from Oct. 1 to 8.

Kho said that the filing of the COC will have to be done physically, which means that persons who intend to run in the 2022 elections must personally apply or at least send an authorized representative.

He said the Comelec cannot allow virtual filing, explaining that waiving the personal appearance of candidates will need Congress approval.

Former Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal agreed to the Comelec’s plan to control the crowd so that the filing of the COC will not become a super spreader event.

Larrazabal also backed the Comelec’s plan to designate a particular time and date for the filing of the COC based on the position that a potential candidate is seeking in next year’s general elections.

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