Comelec to toughen rule on candidate substitution

Comelec to toughen rule on candidate substitution

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 05:32 AM May 04, 2024

Comelec to toughen rule on candidate substitution

Commission on Elections. INQUIRER FILES

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair George Erwin Garcia on Friday said the poll body may disallow the substitution of candidates beyond the designated period to file certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the 2025 midterm elections.

“We might no longer allow substitution of candidates. This means, maybe from Oct. 1 to 8, that’s [period of] filing of [COCs], we will allow that when you withdraw, you can be substituted. But after [Oct.] 8, there will be no substitution of candidacy. Let us not deceive the nation. Whoever is the candidate, he should be open about it, file your [CoCs]. Don’t be a front for someone who is, all along, the one who will be running,” Garcia told reporters during his visit to Guimaras.


Garcia said he will recommend the prohibition before the commission en banc.


He clarified that during the period of filing of COCs, withdrawals will still be allowed. The only allowable reasons for substitution beyond Oct. 8 is when the candidate dies or gets disqualified by Comelec.

Garcia said that while election law allows substitution during the filing period, substitution for reasons other than death or disqualification after the filing period is not mentioned specifically. Candidates who died or were disqualified by final judgment may still be substituted up to midday of election day, provided the substitute candidate has the same surname.

In the 2022 elections, Comelec allowed substitution by withdrawal for candidates, including party list nominees, up to Nov. 15, 2021.

Among those who withdrew their COCs for president after the October filing period were Sen. Ronald dela Rosa, Sen. Bong Go, Grepor Belgica, Anna Capella Velasco and Antonio Valdes. Candidates for vice president who withdrew were Go, Alex Lacson, Raquel Castillo, and Lyle Fernando Uy.

Legal review

Meanwhile, Garcia said Comelec will also seek the advice of its law department to see if it can prohibit premature campaigning even before the election period starts.

Garcia noted that following the adoption of automated polls, the Supreme Court ruled that politicians who filed their COCs the previous year are considered only candidates during the 45 to 90 days campaign period that is included in the election period that usually starts in January and ends in June the following year.


The Comelec chief said that during the barangay elections held Oct. 30 last year, candidates were prohibited from campaigning from the Sept. 3, the last day of filing of COCs, up to Oct. 18. The official campaign period was from Oct. 19 to 28.

No one questioned the prohibition on premature campaigning, he recalled.

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Garcia said the poll body might come out with its calendar of activities and other guidelines by next week.

TAGS: Comelec, substitution

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