Lawmaker calls for ban on election substitution


TO “put an end to the manipulation and mockery of the election process,” a leader of the House of Representatives on Tuesday proposed measures banning “substitution” of candidates and requiring incumbent officials to resign upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy (COCs) for other position.

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City said he would file these two bills immediately.

Under the present election law, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has to wait until the November 15 substitution deadline before finalizing the list of candidates even if the COC filing period has ended last October 8.

“One reform I am proposing is an almost absolute ban on substitution of candidates by political parties. Another is the restoration of the old rule requiring incumbent officials to resign or to be deemed automatically resigned upon the filing of their certificates of candidacy for other positions,” he said.

Since the introduction of the practice that allows candidate switching, Rodriguez said, many people did not believe that some aspirants were serious and qualified enough for the higher positions for which they filed their COCs.

“It is lamentable that for the May 2022 elections, certain candidates for the presidency are perceived to be proxies for some personalities, even if they can be considered as serious aspirants,” he added.  The lawmaker said he is proposing that substitution be prohibited unless the candidate-nominee of a political party dies or is disqualified before election day.

According to Rodriguez, this will give the Comelec more time to screen COC filers, prepare the final list of candidates and print the official ballots and related paraphernalia.

“If we maintain the present October 8 COC filing deadline, the commission will have an additional time of more than one month to prepare for the elections. Alternatively, we can move the timelines closer to election day like setting November 15 as the close of the COC filing period,” he said.

Rodriguez said the candidate substitution ban and the requirement for candidates who are incumbent officials to resign are reforms that would complement each other.

“A candidate would not agree to be a proxy for a dawdling, wavering or indecisive aspirant if he would have to give up his office. The resignation requirement would apply to all levels, national or local, whether aiming for higher or lower positions,” he said.

The lawmaker added the resignation requirement would level the playing field among elective and appointive officials like Cabinet members who are candidates.

“It would prevent them from using their offices, public funds and their influence to promote their candidacies,” Rodriguez said.

He said that his proposed reforms would force aspirants to take running for higher office seriously and to stop manipulating and mocking the electoral process. “These would also make more people believe in the integrity of our elections,” he added.


Meanwhile, Lakas-CMD official and Rep. Prospero Pichay admitted that while they have members who filed candidacies for president and vice president, the party “can still negotiate with other presidential candidates.”

“We have a presidential candidate but we can still negotiate with other presidential candidates. In effect I am saying we put up a candidate but if there are other candidates whose ratings are high then we can consider them,” Pichay said in a TV interview.

“But you know this business of substitution is actually is creating a game of chess among all the parties because like for example PDP-Laban fielded Senator Bato [Dela Rosa] as presidential candidate but we all know that Sen. Bato is not really serious about running for President, but again after November 15 that’s the time we will be able to assess,” he added.

Pichay also said Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte is welcome to run for president under Lakas-CMD.

“What I said is the business of substitution is actually not a good practice and that’s the reason why, actually the question was if [Davao Mayor] Sara [Duterte] will run for president, will you consider her as the standard-bearer that what I said yes, yes,” Pichay said.

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