DUMAGUETE CITY – A retired Philippine Navy officer and an ally of the slain Governor Roel Degamo on Tuesday filed his certificate of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial office in Negros Oriental to contest the third district Congressional seat in the province.
Rey Lopez submitted his COC and other documents to the Comelec and completed all requirements with no issues before noon, said lawyer Eliseo Labaria, acting provincial election supervisor of Negros Oriental.
Lopez, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1992 and who hails from Siaton, Negros Oriental, is running as an independent but is a close ally of the former deceased governor and his widow, Pamplona Mayor Janice Degamo.
In the May 9, 2022 national elections, Lopez ran under the Nacionalista Party for the third district under the Degamo ticket but lost to Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., who was expelled this year for a variety of reasons such as continued absence from the Lower House and his refusal to return to the country after his official leave had expired.
The former solon is also tagged as the alleged mastermind in the March 4 assassination of Degamo and nine others at the governor’s residence in Pamplona.
So far, only Lopez has submitted his COC for the special election on Dec. 9 which the Comelec en banc approved earlier to fill in the post vacated by Teves.
Labaria said the filing of COCs for the third congressional district election has been extended to Nov. 11 instead of only three days from Nov. 6-8.
He called on those planning to contest the third district seat to file their COCs early to allow them enough time to complete their documents and other requirements.
Lopez, who came in early to the Comelec office, accompanied by his supporters, had to redo some of the forms he submitted after they were found to be incomplete, Labaria said.
Meanwhile, Labaria added that despite the extension of COC filing for the special poll, the election period for the third district will start on Nov. 9 with almost all the prohibitions from the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan and last year’s elections being adopted. (PNA)