The Sangguniang Panlungsod wants the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office in Puerto Princesa City to clarify the process of the ongoing filing of certificate of candidacy (COC) for the upcoming October 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

The demand for explanation comes after confusion caused partial disruption to the opening of COC filing on Monday, August 28, at SM City Puerto Princesa

During a privilege speech on Tuesday, Councilor Elgin Damasco said that he had received reports from residents of remote barangays who informed him that they had been waiting in line at the mall for two days but had not yet been attended to.

“Nais ko lang ipaalam at tawagan ang attention ng City COMELEC office may kaugnayan sa ongoing na pag-file ng COC ng mga kumakandidato sa barangay. Sa SM ginagawa ang filing at kahapon, sa kalagitnaan ng sikat ng araw, bago pa lang nag-anunsyo na 360-400 lang pala ang pwedeng ma-accommodate,” Damasco said.

He also proposed that the City COMELEC office should organize the COC filing process in grouped barangays or visit the barangays to facilitate the activity.

However, earlier on the same day in a press conference at the Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO), City COMELEC supervisor Atty. Julius Cuevas clarified that they had already thought about clustering barangays but decided against it due to time constraints and other factors.

“We thought of doing it per barangay o per cluster pero minabuti ng COMELEC na hindi yun gawin kasi mamaya kung i-set ko yung date for north and then walang mag-file sa araw na yun, and then yung mga taga-poblacion na nandito lang, hindi makapag-file kasi nandoon kami, sayang yung oras,” the city elections supervisor explained.

“Ang filing of COCs is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then may cut-off na 4:45 where ang i-accommodate na lang namin is yung mga within 30 meters from the cueing area as long as yung COCs nila ay complete,” Cuevas added.

Cuevas elaborated that their estimate of 2,600 individuals expected to submit COCs over the course of six days is secure and is grounded in the 2018 BSKE experience, during which only 1,800 aspirants filed their COCs.

Cuevas provided the clarification following the emergence of an issue regarding the projection that the number of COC filers would reach 4,000 for the BSKE polls.

“Nakapagtataka na merong projected 4,000 candidates because walang basehan. Ito ang naging basehan ng COMELEC–based on the previous BSKE in 2018, 1,800 lang ang nag-file ng COC, so we projected na at least maximum 2,400 kaya we divide it to six (days) and we came up with 400 a day,” Cuevas said.

“So yung 4,000, in terms of statistics and projection, hindi siya feasible. We conducted [our] projection using linear regression and we found out that reasonable yung 2,400 and kung mag-exceed man dyan, up to 2,600 or more, kakayanin pa rin naman ng COMELEC yan as long as yung mga COCs nila during the filing ay kumpleto na,” Cuevas further stated.

Issues with the COCs, like incorrect information input or missing documents such as notarizations and documentary stamps, contribute to the lengthier process.

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