Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 27) — Commission on Elections chairman Sheriff Abas said that while he is saddened to see the substitution option being used as a tactical measure by aspirants, Comelec cannot do anything about it unless the law is changed.
"Sa ngayon nakakalungkot na nagiging strategy na rin sa ibang kandidato," Abas told CNN Philippines' Politics as Usual on Tuesday.
[Translation: For now, it is saddening to see it used as a strategy by some candidates.]
He also noted that whether the strategy would benefit or negatively affect the aspirant does not matter to him since it was the choice of the aspirant to be a substitute.
"Sa ibang aspect ang iba strategy talaga...pero sa kabilang banda pwede rin sabihin parang abuse, pero sa akin hindi naman magma-matter because if that would be negative, nasa kandidato na 'yun," Abas said.
[Translation: In one aspect, it's really a strategy... but on the other hand, it can also be a form of abuse but it doesn't matter to me if that would be negative, since that's the candidate's choice.]
"Ang bottom line dito is this is a law and this is allowed, so until hindi siya ma-amend eh allowed siya, so wala tayong magawa doon," he added.
[Translation: The bottom line here is this is a law and this is allowed so until it is amended, it is allowed so we cannot do anything about it]
His statement comes amid continued calls for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president despite having already filed her certificate of candidacy for reelection.
Mayor Duterte recently met with presidential aspirant and former senator Bongbong Marcos in Cebu, fueling speculations that she will later become his running mate.
Abas said Sara may still join the presidential or vice presidential race as long as she finds an aspirant under a political party who is willing to be replaced. The deadline for voluntary substitutions is on Nov. 15.