TODAY starts a week-long job-application and registration process for those who aspire to lead the nation.

The applicants have only until Friday, Oct. 16, to file their certificates of candidacy with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

In all, 18,069 positions will have to be filled up.

Decision day is seven months away on May 9, 2016.

By their votes, registered Filipino voters – last counted at 53,786,223 by the last balloting in October 2013 – will have to employ:

* A president
* A vice president
* 12 senators
* 58 party-list representatives
* 235 district representatives
* 81 governors
* 81 vice governors
* 772 provincial board councilors
* 144 city mayors
* 144 city vice mayors
* 1,610 city councilors
* 1,490 municipal mayors
* 1,490 municipal vice mayors
* 11,924 municipal councilors
* A governor for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)
* A vice governor for ARMM
24 ARMM assemblymen.

It is fortuitous that the Comelec has helped ease the decision-making process for voters. In a landmark move, the poll body has decided to require all candidates to sign on to an “Integrity Pledge.”

A veritable terms of employment, the Pledge at the very least serves voters a reference for the expected, dutiful, and lawful conduct that all candidates must swear to and live by.

Will they keep true to the Pledge? The voters will know best when hiring time comes.

The full text of the Integrity Pledge follows:


I sign this Integrity Pledge for free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections, and through my words and actions, commit to abide by the tenets of our Constitution, election laws, rules and regulations, respecting the sanctity of our electoral exercise.

I will not employ any form of violence, force, or threat that may impair, impede, or unduly influence the free exercise of the people’s right of suffrage. I will ensure the prompt and accurate, reporting and disclosure of campaign-related expenses.

I will not offer or give bribes or gifts to corrupt the integrity of our democratic process.

As a candidate seeking the people’s mandate in order to serve them, I shall respect the norms of conduct expected of public servants and commit to run a clean campaign, observing fairness, common decency, honesty and good faith.

All these, I commit and subscribe to, freely and voluntarily, fully accountable to Almighty God and to the Filipino people as my witnesses.

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