Manila Bulletin : Comelec to solons: Come up with restrictions instead of banning substitution of candidates

15 October 2021

By Analou de Vera | Manila Bulletin

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said that substitution of candidates should not be banned but instead lawmakers must come up with certain limitations in the said policy.

“What needs to happen is that Congress should introduce restrictions of some sort, on the exercise of the statutory privilege of substitution,” said Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez on his official Twitter account.

While the substitution option for election candidates is important, Jimenez said some use this as a “strategy.”

“I deplore the thinking that results in this ‘strategy,’ but I also seen the intrinsic worth of the system of substitution,” he said.

“There was a time when these negotiations happened behind closed doors, before the deadline for filing COCs passed. Now, tho, it’s all being played out in the open and it makes the public uncomfortable seeing what used to be hidden from them,” he added.

Based on Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, if “an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified.”

Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed measures on Thursday, Oct. 14, to prevent substitution of candidates.

Rodriguez said that the two measures he filed at the Lower Chamber “aim to put an end to practices by politicians and political parties that tend to put in doubt the integrity of our elections.”

Presidential candidate and Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa expressed his willingness to be substituted by Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio if the latter decided to run for the highest position in the land.

The Comelec set the deadline of substitution of candidates for the May 2022 elections on Nov. 15.