‘Place holder’ filers may be ‘nuisance’ bets


A SO-CALLED “placeholder candidate”—or someone who files just to “reserve” a slot for another candidate before the period for substitution ends —could be declared a nuisance candidate, a former official of the Commission on Elections said on Monday.

Citing the provision of the Omnibus Election Code, retired Comelec commissioner Luie Guia said aspiring candidates could be declared as such if it will be proven that they have no bona fide intention of running in the elections.

He noted such “mere placeholder” aspirants could be subjected to a Petition to Declare a Candidate a Nuisance Candidate under Section 69 of the Election Code, which will be filed with Comelec.

“If the petition succeeds, there is no candidate to substitute,” Guia said in a post in his Twitter account.

Guia issued the statement after Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa announced on Friday that he will be running for president in the 2022 elections under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

The last-minute, surprise declaration drew public criticism after no less then Dela Rosa said that he is “willing to give way,” when it comes to his candidacy, to Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of President Duterte, should she change her mind.

This led to speculation of Dela Rosa as being a mere substitute candidate for Carpio until she formally declares her presidential bid before the November 15, 2021 deadline set by Comelec for voluntary substitution.

In a television interview on Monday, prominent election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Dela Rosa’s statement can be used as evidence to have him declared a nuisance candidate.

Macalintal said the petition could be filed by anyone of the 97 presidential aspirants, who filed their Certificate of Candidacy (COC) last week.

One of the said aspirants is Macalintal’s client, Vice President Leonor  “Leni” Robredo.

Macalintal said he is not recommending that Robredo file such a petition against Dela Rosa, at least for now, stating it is still too early to do so.

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