CHECKPOINT. A Cavite policeman is seen inspecting a vehicle at a checkpoint in Trece Martires City in connection with the special election on Feb. 25, 2023. Voters will choose their representative for the 7th Congressional District. (PNA photo by Rossel Calderon)

TRECE MARTIRES CITY, Cavite – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) officially declared on Thursday the start of the campaign period for the Feb. 25 special election in the 7th district of this province.

At exactly 12:01 a.m. Comelec checkpoints were put up in strategic locations, including the entrance and exit points of the municipalities of Tanza, Indang, Amadeo and Trece Martires City, which compose the 7th district.

Cavite police director Col. Christopher Falculan Olazo said a gun ban is also in effect and his men will conduct spot checks and visual searches on all vehicles traveling within the areas.

Manning the checkpoints are security forces from the Cavite Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and non-government organizations as support.

Olazo said there are no "election hotspots" in Tanza, Indang, Amadeo and Trece Martires, and as of this posting there is no election-related violence recorded in the four areas.

Meanwhile, lawyer Mitzele Veron Morales, Provincial Election Officer, said they will start a refresher course for everyone who will be involved in the forthcoming election, especially the electoral board and the board of canvassers.

"We expect a high percentage of election returns from a total of 355,148 registered voters within the 7th district expected to flock to the voting precincts during the actual election day," Morales said.

Four aspirants are vying for the lone congressional seat of the 7th District which was vacated when President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. appointed former Rep. Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla as Secretary of the Department of Justice.

They are former Trece Martires City Mayor Melencio "Jun" De Sagun Jr., 7th District Board Member Crispin Diego Remulla, Jose Angelito Domingo Aguinaldo and Michael Angelo Bautista Santos. (Rossel Calderon/PNA)