CoC circus


Every yearend holiday season brings with it the traditional “perya” (circus) in every city and town across the country. This circus remains very popular for its rides, shows and games, including casino-like gambling.

Among the circuses, the only one-of-a-kind is the one held around the Manila Cathedral Plaza in front of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office at the Palacio del Gobernador building. It’s called the CoC circus because it happens during pre-election filing of certificates of candidacy (CoC) by aspirants to Congress and Malacañang.

The CoC circus is different in that it has no rides, shows and games. The fiesta-like atmosphere is only made through cheering, dancing, music and singing by supporters of political candidates. The noise barrage from these paid and fed bands, cheering squads and singers of CoC filers come alive before, during and after the scheduled arrival of the candidates at the Comelec to file their CoC.

The CoC circus starts on 11, 12, 15, 16 and 17 October, the dates for the filing of CoC for aspirants in the 2019 mid-term elections.

However, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said candidates for senators, congressmen and local officials were advised not to allow their supporters to gather outside the Palacio del Gobernador during the filing of CoC. Jimenez said Comelec wants the CoC filing to be “dignified.”

The question is will the candidates take heed of Jimenez’s advice?

In this land of fiesta-lovers, it may be impossible to silence the cheering squads, drumbeaters and entertainers of election candidates unless CoC applicants will be limited to the so-called “nuisance” candidates who usually are alone in filing before disappearing during the campaign period.