ARMM poll aspirants given ‘til Wednesday to file papers
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections has extended the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) until Wednesday midnight to give potential candidates more time to travel to election offices in the region.
The Comelec en banc decided on Monday to continue accepting COCs from aspiring candidates for the positions of governor and vice-governor, among others, until midnight of May 25 citing ARMM as a “very geographically unique place.”
The filing of COCs for the ARMM elections on August 8 was supposed to close on Monday.
“The Comelec released a resolution extending the filing of COCs to give candidates enough time to travel to Cotabato City,” said Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez in a phone interview with reporters on Monday.
He said some of the candidates, who appealed for an extension, were coming from the island provinces of ARMM, such as Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and Basilan. Traveling to Cotabato City, where the office of the Comelec regional election director is located, entails time.
The en banc also considered the “volatile political situation” in ARMM in allowing for the extension of the filing of COCs.
The resolution also assigned two more satellite offices where candidates could file their COCs.
The en banc said that aside from the Comelec office in Cotabato City, candidates could submit pertinent documents for their entry into the polling in Comelec offices in the cities of Zamboanga and Marawi.
So far, seven candidates have already filed for the position of ARMM governor while three personalities have submitted their candidacies for vice-governor, including Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, an aunt of President Aquino.
Jimenez also stressed that the extension of the filing of COCs had nothing to do with the ongoing debates among lawmakers on the postponement of the ARMM elections until 2013.
Meanwhile, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad appealed to the government, on Monday, to push through with the elections in the region to avert tension that might erupt should it be postponed.
“There are already sectors resisting the postponement of the ARMM elections… to avoid tension, we have to proceed with it,” said Jumoad over Church-run Radyo Veritas on Monday.
The prelate said he saw no reason for the President to ignore the clamor of the majority in the region, for the holding of the balloting on August 8, as scheduled by law.
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