Prospective candidates must have pure intentions

By and Gerard Vincent Francisco, Nestle Semilla, Rosalie Abatayo, Zena V. Magto |October 10,2018 - 10:34 PM

ELECTION season starts today with the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) for those aspiring for local and national electoral positions.

Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Florencio reminds them “to have the purest intentions in serving the public.”

“At the end of the day ang measure sa success dili diha sa kung unsa ang imong na-accomplish but kung unsa ang imong naitabang sa mga kaigsuonan nga nagkinahanglan,” Bishop Florencio told reporters on Wednesday.

(The measure of a leader’s success is not what he has accomplished but the extent of help he has given to our brothers and sisters who need it.)

Florencio said politicians should realize that the underlying foundation of governance is service to their constituents.

“Kining pagkapinili, ang underlying foundation ana niya is service. Service does not mean serving ourselves but serving others labi na katong mga kabus, mga labing nanginahanglan,” said Florencio.

(Being elected, the underlying foundation is service. Service does not mean serving ourselves but serving others especially the poor and those who need help the most.)

Offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will start accepting the COCs for the 2019 midterm elections today, October 11, until next Wednesday, October 17.

Additional question

The COC form now has a new question for a prospective candidate to fill up: “Have you ever been found liable for an offense which carries with it the accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification to hold public office which has become final and executory?”

This question is item number 22 of the new COC form.

This drew criticism from former polls commission chief Sixto Brillantes.

Brillantes argued that the “insertion is not required under Section 78 of the Omnibus Election Code which refers to the contents of a certificate of candidacy.”

“Besides, the inserted query in the COC speaks of matters that are both legal and procedural which an ordinary candidate would not be able to respond to by a simple yes or no,” Brillantes said in a Facebook post.

A Rappler report quoted Brillantes saying, “Pag nilagay mong ‘yes,’ eh ‘di disqualified ka na. Para mo nang dinisqualify ang sarili mo (If you put ‘yes,’ then you’re disqualified. It’s like you disqualified yourself).”

But Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said that an affirmative answer to the question does not mean that the candidate will be immediately disqualified. It just means that anyone can contest the validity of a candidate’s candidacy.

“Kaning gibuhat sa Comelec, sakto (What Comelec has done is correct) because it is also based on a Supreme Court decision that the Comelec needs to know those who have been convicted by final judgment for crimes that carry with it accessory penalty of perpetual disqualification,” Castillano explained.

“Di na mi mangutana kon tinuod ba na or dili, kay kung mangutana na mi (We do not ask if it is true or not because) that’s already beyond what is ministerial duty,” said Castillano.

Preparations

Meanwhile, political parties have started preparations for filing their COC.

Cebu Councilor Margarita “Margot” Osmeña and the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) slate for the 2019 elections is already filled and will file their COCs on Monday, October 15.

The councilor refused to bare the names of the candidates in their slate saying it will be a surprise that will be revealed on Monday.

Councilor Osmeña also affirmed that her husband, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, will seek reelection.

The councilor earlier announced that she would be retiring from politics after her term as councilor ends in June 2019.

Former councilor and current consultant to the mayor, Alvin Dizon, however, revealed that he will run for councilor in 2019 under BOPK.

“Tingalig ang akong position as former councilor, kita nila nga naa pa ta’y ma-contribute for the city,” said Dizon.

He said if he is successful, he will focus not only on the rights of the urban poor, but will also enact laws that will help the youth and the women in society.

Opposition Councilor Joel Garganera said Barug Team Rama–PDP Laban is still finalizing their list of candidates.

Garganera said Barug will still meet to discuss election matters.

Garganera also confirmed that former Calape, Bohol Mayor Ernesto Herrera II will run as city councilor under Barug.

Herrera’s advocacy is for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), especially that his father, former Senator Ernesto Herrera was a polio victim.

“I was invited by Mayor Mike Rama, and Secretary Mike Dino, and of course Vice Mayor Edgar Labella to run with PDP Laban,” said Herrera.

Security

Police visibility intensifies today especially at the Comelec offices.

Supt. Reyman Tolentin, spokesperson of Police Regional Office in Central Visayas( (PRO-7), said that they will assist Comelec in maintaining peace and order during the filing of COC.

“Every police station will be manning (Comelec offices) and there will be personnel on standby just in case (any conflict arises between political parties),” said Tolentin.

On Tuesday, the PRO-7 went on red alert as they prepare for the election activities.

A review on villages identified as areas of concern during the past elections is also being conducted by the police.

Tolentin said that police stations that had areas of concern during the last election were advised to re-examine their areas of jurisdiction in terms of peace and order.

They will also monitor the candidates and the activities of the different political parties in the region to determine if an area is highly contested and if it has to be identified as an area of concern.

“Mahibaw-an nato kinsa mga kandidato nga mga opposition, siguro ma-determine nato kung ang area is an area of concern because of intense political rivalry,” said Tolentin.

(If we know who will be running against each other, then we will be able to determine if that area will become an area of concern because of intense political rivalry.)

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