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[box type=”default” size=”large”] Notary service at Comelec blamed for deluge of nuisance bets [/box]

MANILA – A total of 130 people want to become president of the Republic of the Philippines.

When the five-day period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) ended last week, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) received 130 COCs for president.

Nineteen individuals filed their bid for the vice presidency, while 172 others wanted to try their luck in the Senate derby. The number of COCs for senatorial posts is more than double the number during the filing of COCs for the senatorial elections in 2013.

In 2012, the Comelec booked a total of 84 senatorial contenders at the close of the COC filing. Only 33 made the final cut.

It was reported that a notary service that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) offered during the filing of COCs was blamed for the deluge of odd candidates for national elective positions.

The huge turnout of aspirants had easy access to the Comelec’s third-party notarial service right inside its Project Management Office (PMO) at Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.

Under Comelec Resolution No. 9984, all COCs to be filed for the 2016 elections should be sworn to before a notary public or any official authorized to administer the oath. Comelec employees are not authorized to administer the oath, even in their capacities as notary public.

But a Comelec insider said the law department rejected the new scheme when it was proposed and was probably right in opposing it because it resulted in too many “nuisance” candidates.

“If we did not make available a notary public inside, many of these nuisance candidates, who lacked this requirement, will be discouraged from pushing through with filing their COCs,” said the lawyer, who requested anonymity for fear of being reprimanded.

Looking for a notary public someplace else would have been a deterrent for those who just wanted a few minutes of fame, the lawyer added.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez defended the election body’s initiative of providing third-party notarial service, saying it served its purpose well.

“It doesn’t matter if we have more nuisance candidates now because the process of filing became more convenient to the legitimate filers,” he said.

On his Twitter account, the official described as unprecedented the number of filers for president or senator. “The recently concluded COC filing was a record-breaker,” he said.

For the 2010 polls, 90 people filed COCs for president, 20 for vice president and 158 for senator.

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