Filing of candidacies for midterm polls begins

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REELECTIONIST Senator Aquilino Martin L. Pimentel III, singer-songwriter Freddie Aguilar, and former party-list congressman Neri J. Colmenares were among the early birds in the filing of certificates of candidacy (CoCs) that began on Thursday, Oct. 11, and is scheduled to end next Wednesday, Oct. 17.

Comelec Commissioner Rowena V. Guanzon said there will be 18,092 positions open for next year’s midterm elections. Besides the aforementioned candidates for senator, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc-Tumawis of the opposition Liberal Party, former Department of Health consultant Willie T. Ong, and former councilor Danilo Roleda of the Binay camp’s United Nationalist Alliance also filed their candidacies for senator. CoCs have also been begun to be filed for the local positions.

In an interview with Reuters, Earl Parreno of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms said, “The mid-term elections will test not only the president’s popularity and strength, but if he can continue to push for his agenda in the second half of his term.”

The latest senatorial poll, by the Social Weather Stations, showed allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte still dominating the Top 12. But they are expected to deal with economic issues that have weighed down on Mr. Duterte’s own ratings.

Among Mr. Duterte’s Cabinet officials, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano confirmed on Thursday that he will run as Taguig Representative in the 2019 midterm elections and will seek the House Speakership if elected in order to push the Duterte administration’s vision in the legislative branch.

“With all humility, I will seek another term in my hometown Taguig and Pateros and then let’s see where it goes from there….I will seek the leadership position in the House but, you know, it’s a complex matter. We have to win first in the district, and I want to focus on that first. And then you have to win the trust and confidence of the whole Congress,” Mr. Cayetano told reporters in Bali, Indonesia.

For its part, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it plans to provide security assistance to “possible candidates, if they think they have threats to their lives,” said PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Benigno B. Durana, Jr.

“They can avail of the security coverage services which will be provided by the Philippine national police,” said Mr. Durana.

Mr. Durana added that PNP chief director General Oscar D. Albayalde already tasked the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in Northern and Southern Luzon, Visayas, Eastern, and Western Mindanao to provide extra security measures during the election period.

In this year’s elections, The PNP has also tagged 7,926 barangays and 896 municipalities in the country as areas of concern or election hotspots. —reports by Gillian M. Cortez, Camille A. Aguinaldo, Vince Angelo C. Ferreras, and Reuters