20 file COCs; ‘colorful’ bets rule 1st dayBy Fat Reyes
MANILA, Philippines – A total of 20 candidates filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) main office during the first day of filing Monday.
Of the 20 candidates, 10 were from the prominent parties expected to go neck in neck in the 2013 mid-term elections this May.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who is part of the administration’s ticket led by President Benigno Aquino III’s Liberal Party, was the first candidate to file when the Comelec office opened at 8 a.m.
Eight of the senatorial candidates of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) also filed their certificates of candidacy COCs and were accompanied by the party’s Vice President Jejomar Binay, former president Joseph Estrada, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Among those in UNA’s senatorial slate who filed their COC at the Comelec were reelectionist Sen. Gregorio Honasan, Representatives JV Ejercito, Jackie Ponce Enrile and Milagros Magsaysay; former senators Ernesto Maceda, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon; and former Tarlac Governor Margarita “Tingting’’ Cojuangco.
UNA is a merger of Binay’s PDP-Laban party and Estrada’s Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino.
Senator Loren Legarda, who is running as a guest candidate for both the LP and UNA, opted to file her candidacy at a later time, saying she chose the time 3:50 pm because she believed it would give her good luck.
Successful first day, ruled by ‘colorful candidates’
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez, in an interview with reporters, said that it was a successful first day, saying that that they were expecting about 50 applications for the duration of five days and that “we’re almost half and it’s only been one day and there are four days left.”
“Those who filed today were mostly the people we expect to run for the elections. The number swelled with the entry of the ‘colorful candidates,’” Jimenez said.
Indeed, the so-called ‘color candidates’ ruled the first day, as the senatorial aspirants made somewhat bizarre and unbelievable claims.
Notable among them was the 55-year old Salam Lacan Luisong Tagean, who claimed that he was the legitimate heir to the Philippines.
He said his family was of royal blood and that if he becomes senator, he would make sure that he would provide land for the landless.
Daniel Magtira, 52-year old, also made implausible claims, saying in his COC that he was the husband of “Kris Aquino,” was nominated by former first lady Imelda Marcos, and was a past worker of “Talentadong Pinoy.”
Dismayed over premature campaigning
“The day has been very successful with the exception probably of the number of people outside and the volume of the activities outside,” Jimenez said when asked to give an assessment.
When asked about Comelec chairman’s Sixto Brillantes Jr., earlier expression of dismay over the seemingly circus atmosphere that characterized the activities outside the Comelec office, Jimenez said that they had always thought of the activities as “premature campaigning” and that it was “something that we frown upon.”
“Ultimately nandyan na yan and hindi naman talaga pinagbabawal. Ang apila lang sana eh tigilan na, nagawa na so tama na okay na and let’s not do this longer than necessary,” Jimenez said.
The candidates’ supporters trooped to the Comelec early Monday and staged various programs and activities for their candidates, which included marching bands playing loud tunes and supporters wearing t-shirts and carrying placards for their candidates.
List of other candidates based on their COCs
Anicio Escosura (40-year-old businessman from Rizal)
Aeric Bernardino (47-year old civil engineer from Caloocan)
Melcor Chavez (61-year-old broadcast journalist from Bataan)
Patrocinio Cailing (59-year-old freelance accountant from Caloocan City)
Juanito Donato (67-year-old retired professor from Mandaluyong City)
Oliver Lozano (72-year old lawyer from Quezon City)
Merlito Lagata (68-year old retired Philippine marines from Sorsogon)
Remelyn Agel (31-year old midwife from San Pablo)