THE filing of the certificate of candidacy (COC) for the May 2019 elections is set to start today and go on until Wednesday next week excluding Saturday and Sunday. That means we are formally in another election season that, based on past experiences, is noisy and hotly contested.
The filing of the
COCs is separate from the formal opening of the campaign season. After this would be a lull before all hell breaks loose, sort of, as candidates run out of the starting gate.
Since the elections are midterm, only one half of the 24 Senate posts are available. Every post is open for the local polls, except for the barangays whose elections are held separately. The campaign period for the national elections is longer than that of the local polls because of the difference in scope.
The election period opens on Jan. 13 next year and ends on June 12. The campaign period for senators and party-list groups will start on Feb. 12 and will end on May 11. The campaign period for members of the House of Representatives and provincial, city and municipal officials will start a bit later, on March 30, and will end on May 11. Campaigning during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday is banned.
Not only candidates should be familiar with election rules. It helps for people to be conscious also of these rules so they can easily spot violations committed. The rules lay down, for example, what are legal and what are prohibited election propaganda and where election campaign material materials could be posted and where these are barred.
The 2016 presidential election was unprecedented in its use of the social media not only as a tool for information but as a campaign weapon. By now, netizens should be familiar with how candidates “weaponize” social media especially through the spread of fake news and the use of trolls, bots and paid hacks to attack supporters of opposing candidates and weaken their resolve.
Elections are important in a representative democracy like ours. An important component of the electoral process is the grant to the people of the right to choose their representatives in government through their votes. People need to value that vote by putting the right candidate into office.