Bato, suspected to be a placeholder, agrees to amend substitution rule
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential aspirant Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who is suspected to be a placeholder for Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in the 2022 elections, on Tuesday said he agrees with proposals to amend the substitution rule in the country’s electoral law.
While saying he does not see the rule being presently abused, Dela Rosa admitted that political parties use it as a “strategy.”
“Dapat talaga tanggalin ito, ako talaga I am for it kasi nagagamit ito na strategy sa mga partido na may mga…,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel when asked if he agrees that there should be amendments to the substitution rule.
(This should be removed. I am for its removal because this is being used by political parties to be a strategy.)
“Wala akong problema diyan kung ikakabuti ng ating electoral process ‘yung pag amend ng batas na ‘yan then I will go for it, i will support it,” he added.
(I have no problem in amending it if it will do good on our electoral process. I will support it.)
A few hours before the filing of certificates of candidacy closed on Oct. 8, Dela Rosa surprised the public when he filed his COC for the presidency under the Cusi faction of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
This spurred speculations that Dela Rosa is only a “placeholder” for other presidential bets, particularly Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
He himself admitted that it would be better if Duterte-Carpio would run in his stead in the 2022 elections.
He has also admitted that the decision to run for president was finalized about two hours before the period of filing certificates of candidacy closed on October 8. Earlier, he claimed that it was all part of their party strategy to avert criticism.
However, the PDP-Laban wing maintained that it is not waiting for anyone to replace its standard bearer, denying that Dela Rosa is not a “last-minute” choice and a “placeholder.”
Substitution possible until Nov. 15
In the Philippine electoral system, political aspirants can still run for their desired position even outside the COC filing.
They can substitute a candidate who has filed his or her COC but it is subject to certain conditions.
Under the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rules, political parties and coalitions that field a candidate can choose to substitute that candidate if one of three things happens after the COC filing: the candidate dies, withdraws, or is disqualified by the polling body.
The schedule for the substitution period varies per election season.
For the 2022 elections, if a candidate dies, withdraws, dies, or is disqualified by final judgment, a substitute candidate can file their COC by November 15, 2021.
This COC will reflect the name of the substitute.
November 15 is also the last day for substituting party-list nominees who withdraw.
The substitute can also file their COC from November 16, 2021, to midday of May 9, 2022 (Election Day), provided the replacement and the original candidate have the same surname.
Substitutes cannot run in case of withdrawals during this period.
Midday of Election Day is also the deadline for substituting party-list nominees because of death or incapacity.
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