The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday announced to release the official list of candidates for the May 2019 elections before 23 January.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the target for printing of ballots for the upcoming polls will be the third week of January.
“The printing of the ballot is expected to start by the third week of January, possibly around 23, 24 or 25 January,” Jimenez said. “So we expect that the list will be out before those dates.”
The Comelec added that those who will not be part of the list of candidates will not be included in the ballots, noting that the poll body’s target date for the release of the list was last 15 December but was put on hold as the commission resolved the disqualification cases of some candidates.
Jimenez also said that the family of slain Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Rodel Batocabe has until noon of Election Day in May to choose his replacement as candidate for mayor of Daraga.
He said that it will not matter whether Batocabe’s substitute would come from the same political party or not, as long as the replacement shares the same surname with him.
“It’s your political party that basically gives you the right to be substituted. The most important here is the rule in the surname,” Jimenez said. “They don’t even have to be related. It could be just the same last name because the rule says ‘same surname.’ It does not say ‘same family.’”
Comelec Resolution 10420 Section 33 allows substitutes for those who withdraw their candidacies to file their certificates until noon of Election Day and it also applies to candidates disqualified or who died prior to the elections.
Meanwhile, Jimenez said that while a movie about senatorial aspirant, former Police Chief Ronald de la Rosa, can be developed, it cannot be shown during the campaign period.
The film about De la Rosa’s life, to be starred by action star Robin Padilla, is slated for release in 2019, according to a teaser posted by the actor on his Instagram page but Jimenez stressed that it cannot be exhibited during the campaign period, which starts on 13 February, otherwise it “can be a problem” for De la Rosa.
Actors and other TV personalities, such as news anchors, are all prohibited from appearing on their broadcast shows during this time “because this is part of the fair play that we want to promote,” Jimenez said.
“If there’s a movie or a television show that deals with the life of a candidate or the personality of the candidate, or featuring the candidate as an actor portraying someone else, that cannot be shown during the campaign period,” he added.
“Exhibition during the campaign period is likely to be counted as an election offense and election offenses can be punishable by disqualification.”