There was a heavy turnout of candidates who filed their certificates of candidacy at the Commission on Elections offices in Negros Occidental yesterday, many of whom even arrived before the start of office hours at 8 a.m., Provincial Elections Supervisor Jessie Suarez said.
Suarez said this is unusual because, traditionally, there is a low turnout in the first few days set for the filing of CoCs.
He said perhaps the large turnout of candidates is due to the information campaign by the COMELEC on the need to file CoCs, and the excitement of bets to hold barangay posts with the national elections set for 2016.
The filing of COCs will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily until October 17, except October 13, Sunday.
Negros Occidental has 662 barangays, and eight posts are up for grabs per barangay.
Partial records at the COMELEC yesterday showed that 629 barangay officials in Negros Occidental cannot run for reelection on October 28.
The 117 barangay captains and 509 kagawads are on their third terms and prohibited by law from running on October 28, Suarez said.
Suarez warned the candidates against premature campaigning with the campaign period set on October 18 to 26.
The Comelec is ready to file election offense cases against candidates who prematurely put up tarpaulins, posters, and streamers, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said yesterday.
If found guilty of election offenses, they may be disqualified as candidates, and face imprisonment of one to six years, Brillantes said.
Meanwhile Suarez said the Army and police are still reconciling their figures on the number of barangays in Negros Occidental that are possible areas of concern.
The Philippines National Police has identified 300 barangays in Negros Occidental under its election areas of concern, and the Army has tagged 91, he said.
Suarez said he is more inclined to adopt the army listing of 91 barangays as areas of concern, which are located in the hinterland areas of the first, fifth and sixth districts of Negros Occidental, he added.*CPG