Candidates for national posts to file COCs at Sofitel tent – Comelec

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 15) — Those vying for national posts in the May 2022 polls will have to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) at an outdoor tent of Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City next month rather than at the Commission on Elections headquarters in Intramuros.

Comelec Executive Director Bartolome Sinocruz, Jr. told lawmakers part of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System on Wednesday that the Sofitel tent has been chosen as the new location for the COC filing from Oct. 1 to 8.

READ: Unvaccinated elderly can go out to file COC for 2022 polls

The air flow in Sofitel tent is better than in the cramped offices of Comelec in Palacio del Gobernador building in Intramuros.

"The doors will be open. There will be ventilation and that’s really a big space to be divided into venue for filing for president, vice president, senators and party-lists," Sinocruz said.

In a roundtable with CNN Philippines last Saturday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the new venue has a maximum capacity of 2,000 people and will be divided in three areas: a portion for Comelec staff, a section for candidates –– with three separate tables for the president and vice president, senatorial, and party-list bets –– and another section for the media.

"Every election, we say that we limit the number of people inside the filing area and every year, we tend to get overwhelmed," Jimenez said. "In the past, that was annoying but now during the pandemic, that could be fatal."

Comelec has set strict rules to ensure physical distancing and to prevent the filing of COCs from becoming a superspreader event. The poll body is limiting the number of people accompanying candidates, and requiring negative COVID-19 tests prior to entry.

Big crowds of supporters were a common sight in past filing periods. Candidates were accompanied by their family members and political allies in a fiesta-like mood at the Comelec main office.

READ: Comelec sets strict health protocols for October filing of COCs 

In 2019, the poll body received 534 COCs for national posts. Comelec Law Department Director Maria Norina Tangaro-Casingal said 130 COCs were for the presidency, 19 for the vice presidency, 172 for the senatorial race, and 213 for the party-list representation.

Sinocruz said Comelec's regional and district election officers have been given the authority to transfer the filing venue for those vying for local posts to decongest their offices.

The poll body is also preparing to start the review of the source code for the automated polls on Oct. 3, two weeks later than the Sept. 16 target due to lockdowns and other restrictions in Metro Manila.

Comelec is still accepting applications from political parties, civic groups, and IT experts to scrutinize the codes that will be used to run the vote-counting machines, read ballots, and transmit voting tallies on May 9.

LIST: Some things to expect in 2022 election-related activities