By Dona Z. Pazzibugan | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — Defeated candidates in the 2019 elections who are eyeing a political comeback through the party-list system in the House of Representatives may need to rethink their plans.
In Resolution No. 10717 dated Aug. 18, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) tightened the rules for those seeking a seat in the House of Representatives through the party-list system, saying that “nominees should not include any candidate for any elective office or a person who lost his bid for an elective office in the May 13, 2019, national and local elections.”
In addition, a candidate can be nominated by only one party-list group, it said.
During the filing of certificates of candidacy from Oct. 1 to 8, each party-list group may nominate at least five people to become its representatives should it get the required number of votes in the elections.
But the Comelec warned that after the submission of the list, changes in the names or in the order of nominees would no longer be allowed except in cases of death, incapacitation, or a valid withdrawal and submission of nominees to be filed formally not later than Nov. 15.
Those who withdraw their acceptance shall no longer be eligible for renomination by the same party-list group or even a different one.
The Comelec also ruled that the names of all substitute nominees should be officially submitted and should not exceed the number of original nominees.
Substitutions due to the death or incapacity of the nominees shall be allowed only up to midday of election day, it added.
Earlier this year, the poll body required party-list groups to publish their complete list of nominees in two national newspapers within five days from their filing of the list of substitute nominees.
“No substitution shall be valid without compliance with the requirements on publication and submission of proof,” it warned.
In the 2019 elections, the Comelec was hounded by the Duterte Youth party-list controversy. After disqualifying its first nominee, former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema, for being overaged, the poll body allowed his name to be withdrawn in favor of his wife, Ducielle Marie Suarez Cardema, despite questions about the party-list group’s compliance with publication requirements.
Among the prominent politicians who were nominated and elected as party-list representatives in 2019 after losing in previous polls were Michael Defensor, who ran for Quezon City mayor in 2010; Lito Atienza, who sought reelection as Manila mayor in 2010; and Christian evangelist Eddie Villanueva, who ran in 2004 and 2010 for president.
—WITH A REPORT FROM INQUIRER RESEARCH