The Commission on Election (Comelec) was forced to break its rules for the filing of Certificate of Candidacy on Monday after former Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Tesoro Go formalized his bid for the 2019 senatorial race.
In a press conference, Comelec spokesperson James B. Jimenez admitted they had to extend “special treatment” to the entourage of Go, who exceeded their four-person limit rule.
The restriction was supposed to maintain the order during the COC filing.
Jimenez said they had to give consideration to Go since President Rodrigo R. Duterte joined him, when he filed his COC.
“The President was here. Obviously, the President would have to be accompanied by his security that is something that goes beyond what we normally would say and enforce,” Jimenez said.
“Again the safety of the President is paramount. Allowances have to be made for that,” he added.
Go was accompanied by over two dozens of supporters and security, including Duterte.
Other cabinet official who joined Go was Executive Secretary Salvador “Bingbong” Campo Medialdea; former Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano; Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin Andanar among others.
Go is the only candidate so far to be allowed to be given by Comelec the privilege.
Go is running under the senatorial slate of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
If elected, Go said he plans to support the administration priorities through legislation including providing more health services and repealing the Juvenile Justice System.
Jimenez said they are now conducting an internal investigation how Go’s supporters was able to enter Palacio del Gobernado, were COC filing will be held up to Oct. 17, 2018.
He said they would hold accountable the people who will be proven negligent in their duties.
After being faced with said scenario, Jimenez said they would be more restrictive with the people accompanying candidates in remaining days for the COC filing.
Since the start of the COC filing last Thursday, Comelec was able to accommodate 63 senatorial aspirants,who filed their COCs.
Among the 26 people, who filed their COCs yesterday were incumbent Senators Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, and Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, former Magdalo party list rep. Gary Alejano, Cong. Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu, and Lito Lapid.
It also received Certificates of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA) from 70 party lists–40 were from yesterday.
Former PCOO Assistant Sec. Esther Margaux “Mocha” Justiniano Uson was a nominee of the AA-Kasosyo party, which filed its CONA yesterday.