POLITICIANS who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday, October 1, 2021, complied with health protocols, Cebu Provincial Election Supervisor Lionel Marco Castillano said.
The first one to file his COC was Cebu 3rd District Rep. Pablo John Garcia, who is seeking reelection. He went to the Comelec office at around 8 a.m. Friday.
Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas, who is seeking a congressional seat representing the first district. He hopes to replace his grandfather Rep. Eduardo Gullas, who is set to retire from politics.
Others who filed their COCs on Friday were Provincial Board Members Yolanda Daan and Raul Bacaltos from the first district.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia also showed up at the Comelec Cebu provincial office, but said she will file her COC next week. Filing of COCs has been set for October 1 to 8.
The governor is seeking reelection. She will be challenged by former congressman and Tourism secretary Ace Durano, who announced his gubernatorial bid just a few days ago.
Durano’s runningmate is Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III. Garcia, for her part, has not announced her vice gubernatorial candidate.
No supporters accompanied the candidates to the Comelec as a precaution against transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The venue for the COC filing was the conference room of the Comelec Cebu Province office. All windows were opened in compliance with health protocols.
Earlier, the Comelec advised candidates to ask their staff to submit the supporting documents to ensure that everything is in order prior to the actual COC filing.
In Cebu City, only one aspirant had filed his COC as of 10:30 a.m. of October 1.
A former seafarer and teacher, Gian Murillo Aznar, 31, is running independently for a seat in the Cebu City Council representing the north district. It is his first time to run for an elective position.
He said growing up in a family of educators and politicians, in both sides, influenced him to go into public service.
“It came natural to me and I know that this pandemic has devastated many of us so I need to do my part to step up for the next generation of politicians in Cebu City,” he said.
He said he is inclined to focus on the education sector should he win a seat in the Cebu City Council.
He is also an advocate for youth development and overseas Filipino workers’ welfare.
Cebu City Acting Mayor Michael Rama, in a separate interview, said the aspirants under the Barug PDP-Laban are eyeing to file their COCs between October 5 and 8.
Comelec Cebu City North District election officer Chaunsey Boholst said only a few usually file their COC on the first day of filing.
He, however, reiterated his call on the aspirants to inform the Comelec ahead of their planned schedule for filing so they could also prepare, especially that now is not an ordinary time given the Covid-induced restrictions.
“It would be nice if they could inform us ahead. Perhaps we can accommodate a political party in the morning and another in the afternoon or on the following day,” Boholst said.
He said the usual Comelec office operations such as issuance of voters certification were suspended on Friday.
He admitted that they encountered a bit of delay in the setting up of chairs in the area because of miscommunication, but it was already sorted out.
Cebu City Police Office chief Police Colonel Josefino Ligan, in an interview with City Hall reporters during his visit to Comelec Cebu City office, said he instructed his men to exercise maximum tolerance.
A total of 54 police officers and members of Task Group CDS are deployed in the premises of the Comelec Cebu City offices for security.
Ligan said the City Police Office gave premium to operational security which will be in effect throughout the filing of COC period until October 8.
He said the simulation exercise conducted a day before the start of the filing was really an important part of the preparation for the filing of COC.
Meanwhile, Cebuano supporters of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the Ituloy ang Pagbabago Movement (IPM), gathered in downtown Cebu City on Friday morning to continuously urge Duterte-Carpio to run for president in the May 2022 national elections.
It was also the last day of the novena that the group organized for Duterte-Carpio.
“Months back, we already have activities for her during her birthday. We had a caravan and sometime in July, we also had a caravan to show to her that the people of Cebu really want her to run for president and hopefully, she will hear us,” Catmon Vice Mayor Earl Oyas of the IPM said. (ANV, WBS)