Comelec spox: Time to regulate substitution option for election aspirants
MANILA, Philippines — It is “perhaps” time to regulate the substitution of election aspirants so that it will not be done “on a whim,” the spokesperson of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Wednesday.
In an online media briefing, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez noted that substitution of election aspirants is allowed under the law.
“By definition, it cannot be [called] abuse precisely because the law allows it to be done. So again I would question the word ‘abuse.’ However, it is clear that it is perhaps time to maybe add some regulations to this,” he said.
“Maybe there is room for some legislative action to make sure that this cannot be used on a whim because the law has a very laudable concern. It has a very laudable goal, but unfortunately, it would seem that it is now possible to do this whimsically and maybe there is an opportunity to regulate the exercise of this right,” he added.
According to Jimenez, the substitution of aspirants is allowed “to make sure that the political party is not unduly disadvantaged by the sudden withdrawal of a candidate.”
“So because of this, the law protects the rights of the political party by giving it the rights for substitution. Note that an independent candidate who withdraws does not have the right of substitution in that particular case,” he said.
The issue on substitution resurfaced after presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio withdrew her candidacy for reelection as Davao City mayor, fueling speculations on her possible run for a national post.
However, Jimenez said that she would not be able to vie for a national post under her Hugpong ng Pagbabago since it is a regional party.
In 2015, President Rodrigo Duterte, who was then Davao City Mayor, became the substitute candidate for now Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño for the 2016 presidential race, after repeatedly saying he will not run for the top government seat.
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