No Filing of COC by Mail, Comelec Regional Officer Rules

Manila Bulletin, December 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

No Filing of COC by Mail, Comelec Regional Officer Rules


CHICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – “No certificate of candidacy shall be filed or accepted by mail, telegram or facsimile.”This was the response of Atty. Zacarias C. Zaragoza, Jr., Regional Election Director of Bicol Region (Region V) in Legazpi City when asked by this reporter in an email if he is going to allow  Atty. Calixto L. Aquino, Jr., Provincial Election Supervisor of Sorsogon Province, to accept the certificate of candidacy mailed by Overseas Filipino Worker Lolo Roberto “Bobby” M. Reyes for governor in Sorsogon.Citing the Commission on Election Resolution No. 8678 dated Oct. 6, 2009, Attorney Zaragoza said the COC “maybe downloaded from the Comelec website www.comelec.gov.ph.” But “Section 3” says the COC “shall be filed by the candidate personally or by his duly authorized representative. No certificate of candidacy shall be filed or accepted by mail, telegram or facsimile. The authority of the authorized representative shall be in writing and under oath and attached to the certificate of candidacy.”Reyes, a journalist, book author and a community organizer, downloaded copies of the COC from the Comelec website, accomplished the forms and sworn to his COC before Philippine Consulate officials in Los Angeles, California before dropping the COC by registered mail at the Los Angeles post office addressed to the Comelec office in Sorsogon City on or before the Nov. 30, 2009 deadline.When reached for comment, Lolo Bobby, 63, immediately fired away an email to Attorney Zaragoza, appealing for reconsideration, saying: -- The CoC was duly subscribed and sworn to before the Hon. Vice Consul John G. Reyes (not related to the petitioner) of the Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles, California, on Nov. 30, 2009. Vice Consul Reyes is also the Officer-in-charge of the Oversees Absentee Voting (OAV) Task Force of the COMELEC in Southern California. -- Submitting the said CoC to a foreign diplomatic outpost of the Philippine Government for notarization or authentication is substantial compliance with any regulations of any Philippine-government entity such as the COMELEC, as the Philippine Consulate General is not only an extension of the Philippine Government in a foreign country but it is also part and parcel of the Philippine-governmental structure.  --- Since the authentication done by the Philippine Consulate General carried with it the payment of twenty-five ($25) Dollars, for which an official receipt was issued and sent together with the CoC, such was an official action of the entity of the Philippine Government and which office serves as an official extension of the COMELEC insofar as the OAV Law is concerned.  --The said CoC was duly sent by registered first-class air mail, postage prepaid, to the Office of COMELEC Provincial Registrar in Sorsogon City also on Nov. 30, 2009, which complies with the time-honored practice that mailing -- with postage prepaid -- any and all official correspondence or legal form to any government entity on or before the mandated deadline is considered as compliance of the said deadline. -- The CoC form carried this first of five instructions: "1. File this in FIVE (5) LEGIBLE copies" and nothing was stated in it the COMELEC Resolution No. 8678 dated October 06, 2009. -- Since Overseas Absentee Voters (OAV) voters receive their ballots by mail, as had happened in the May 2007 elections and announced tentatively for the May 2010 elections, then they can also file a CoC by mail. …

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