POSTSCRIPT / October 3, 2021 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Early birds or early worms filing CoCs?

THE EARLY bird, they say, catches the worm. In a national election, which is a political variant of a hunger game, we can turn that line around to say that the early worm ends up being eaten by the bird.

The moral here is that it may not be wise to jump up and start punching whoever is in the ring upon hearing the opening bell.

Without classifying them as either bird or worm, these aspirants for a national office were among the first to emerge Friday morning (Oct. 1) to file their Certificate of Candidacy at the big tent beside the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel in Pasay City:

For president – Manny Pacquiao, Jose Montemayor, Edmundo Rubi, Dave Aguila, Leysander Ordenes, and Lurencio Jun Yulaga; for vice president – Lito Atienza, Rochelle David, and Alexander Lague; for senator – Loren Legarda, Lutgardo Barbo, Risa Hontiveros, Phil Delos Reyes, Maylanie Esmael, Norman Marquez, Bertito del Mundo, Romeo Plasquita, Leysander Ordenes, Leysander Ordenes, and Samuel Sanchez.

Pardon our not describing, qualifying or giving the titles of those who showed up before noon. We presume that any public figure aiming for a national position needs no introduction – especially in the Philippines where elections are essentially nothing but popularity contests.

Among those who were, as the cliché goes, conspicuous by their absence on the opening day were Leni Robredo, Bongbong Marcos, Sara Duterte, Isko Moreno Domagoso and Ping Lacson. Why did they not join the early birds/early worms? (See 2nd paragraph above.)

The filing of CoCs will continue every day until Oct. 8. Candidates for lower positions will go to local Commission on Elections receiving sites. Using that big tent beside Sofitel, btw, was an inspired idea, reminding us of the circus atmosphere of past CoC filings.

Those who have passed their papers and recited their spiel are, strictly, not yet candidates since the Comelec still has to process their documentation and check if they are qualified. Some of them may even be declared nuisance candidates.

Although the Comelec has not been known to be strict in enforcing the rules against premature campaigning, the would-be candidates are reminded that under Comelec Resolution No. 10696 promulgated Feb. 10, 2021, these are the only prescribed campaign periods:

* Feb. 8 to May 7, 2022, for candidates for president, vice president, senator and party-list groups.

* March 25 to May 7, 2022, for candidates for congressman and elective regional, provincial, city, and municipal official.

Under the same Comelec calendar, the Election Period runs from Jan. 9 to June 8, 2022, during which the poll body takes over certain functions (related to ensuring free and peaceful elections) that are performed by the regular Executive agencies.

 Making sure you don’t miss this!

IF YOU missed this straightforward letter making the rounds on social media and elsewhere, we’re posting it here for you.

Former Foreign Secretary Roberto “Bobby” R. Romulo is supposed to take things easy for health reasons. He has even suspended his columns in Philippine Star until November. But he just had to send out an urgent appeal to his fellow members of the business community. Here it is:

“This letter is about the sad plight of our country under the Presidency of Duterte which has been characterized by incompetence, brutality, corruption, incivility, abuse of power, and dishonesty.

“In a span of five years, he has reversed the gains that the Aquino Presidency has bequeathed him – a robust economy, a healthy balance sheet, shrinking poverty levels, the confidence of foreign investors, international credit rating agencies and corruption ranking institutions, and the respect of other countries.

“He has squandered the weight of global public opinion in our favor following the ruling of the UN arbitration court invalidating China’s claim on the South China Sea by meekly standing by while she continues encroaching on our territory and denying our fishermen access to traditional fishing grounds.

“His brutal implementation of his anti-drug war has caused the lives of thousands with little success to show for it.

“His incompetent management of the pandemic resulted in unnecessary deaths and impoverished the poor even more.

“The simplicity, dignity, moral values and respect for democratic ideals that the under-appreciated Noynoy Aquino brought stands in stark contrast to Duterte.

“Do we really want six more years of this dark age in our history? Six more years of Harry Roque and Jose Calida?

“The next election will be fought in cyberspace – be it the social media trolls or even outright digital shenanigans by the side that has the means to do so or is friendly with those who have. Truth is the counter weapon of choice against those who will bend it to change the narrative.

“I strongly suggest that you highlight Aquino legacies to your family, friends, and acquaintances. If possible, provide moral and financial support to those who are in social media. It is my understanding that there are trolls on our side but regrettably weak in comparison to Duterte trolls.

“Do not put priority on the ‘winnability’ of a candidate but rather on someone who will bring back competence, dignity, civility and true love of country and her people. Together we can make that candidate winnable. But do not wait for that individual to emerge. Our primary objective now is to show our countrymen that Duterte and his anointed are unacceptable.

“At the age of 82, I assure you I have no personal agenda, political or otherwise. In truth, it is my fervent prayer for the return of democracy and its institutions, which the incumbent has trampled.

“Thank you for the messages and prayers. It is my hope that Divine Intervention will assist me in my medical challenge even as I devoutly pray that HE will bring enlightenment to our citizenry that will lead to the political demise of the incumbent President and his allies.”

(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 3, 2021)

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