De Lima files bill seeking to prevent abuse of candidate substitution | Inquirer News
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De Lima files bill seeking to prevent abuse of candidate substitution

/ 11:32 PM December 07, 2021
Leila de Lima

Sen. Leila de Lima at the office of the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Makati in visits Inquirer office in 2016. (File photo by KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima has filed Senate Bill No. 2461 seeking to prevent the abuse of an election law provision allowing the substitution of a candidate for another who has withdrawn.

The law allows the practice so that the political party involved will not be disadvantaged due to the sudden withdrawal, death, or disqualification of their fielded bet, according to an earlier statement of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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However, in a statement issued on Tuesday, De Lima made this observation: “It can readily be gleaned that the practice of substituting candidates with individuals who were not party members, but only belatedly, even up to the point of taking their oath as party member only on the date of the filing of the substitute certificate of candidacy, is an outright bastardization of the privilege of substitution accorded by the law to political parties.”

Under her bill, the senator seeks to amend Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code, which provides rules for the substitution, and to incorporate modifications introduced by Section 12 of the Fair Elections Act in light of election automation and printed ballots.

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Meanwhile, De Lima also lamented how some political parties had been resorting to fielding placeholders or nominating persons with no real intention of running for public office only to substitute them later.

“In order to prevent this from happening, the Comelec should be able to determine whether these ‘placeholders’ are nuisance candidates in spite of substitution, which, in turn, would void the substitution by the political party which nominated them,” she said.

De Lima’s bill requires that the substitute of a candidate who has withdrawn his or her candidacy must, at the very least, already be a member of the political party of the aspirant withdrawing at the time of the filing of the latter’s certificate of candidacy.

“This would preclude the now prevalent practice of political parties filing nuisance candidacies of party members, but only as placeholders to strong and popular candidates of other political parties or who are otherwise independent, in anticipation that their political party will be the one eventually picked by the strong and prominent candidate,” she said.

“This practice of last-minute party-hopping or party-hunting during and even after the original Comelec period for filing certificates of candidacies has ended must stop now, as it puts to shame even ordinary and regular party-hopping done several months or weeks before the filing of certificates of candidacy,” the senator added.

Moreover, Senate Bill No. 2461 also “makes the substitution without prejudice to any proceeding to declare the original candidates as nuisance candidates and to void any substitution of the same.”

De Lima stressed that substitution in case of withdrawal should be made within the period designated by Comelec, which should be prior to the printing of ballots.

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TAGS: 2022 elections, candidate substitution, Comelec, Leila de Lima, Omnibus Election Code
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