Señeres’ family rejects poll substitution, but OFW party-list wants one
MANILA — The family of the late OFW party-list representative Roy Señeres and his political party filed, on Tuesday, opposing manifestations on substitution at the Commission on Elections.
Lawyer Candy Rivas filed on behalf of Señeres’ family a very urgent manifestation and motion, asking the Comelec to remove or not include Señeres’ name in the ballot in the May elections.
Rivas said the manifestation was filed in accordance with the last wishes of the late party-list lawmaker, who died of complications from diabetes last Monday.
“We would like to respect the last wishes of Congressman Señeres… We filed this manifestation and motion that the name of Congressman Roy V. Señeres be removed from the ballot, just in case it has already been included,” Rivas said.
And if Señeres’ name has not yet been included, Rivas said the family would like it to be excluded so the ballot would not become crowded with names.
Rivas said that Señeres’ last wishes were as follows: no substitution for his presidential candidacy; no endorsement of presidential candidates; maintain the legacy of his name through the OFW Family Club party list of which his son, Roy Señeres Jr. has become the No. 1 nominee; and that the acronym OFW Family Club party list be maintained in the ballot.
Recalling her conversation with Señeres before she filed his statement of cancellation/withdrawal from the presidential race last week at the Comelec, Rivas said she asked him who among his children or family should substitute for him.
“No, no one is qualified,” she quoted Señeres as saying.
She added that when she asked Señeres whom he would endorse as president, he replied: “None so far.”
However, a few hours before Seneres’ family arrived at the Comelec on Tuesday, his political party Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka-Workers and Peasants Party (PMMWPP), filed a separate manifestation and petition naming lawyer Apolonia Soguilon—a presidential aspirant that the Comelec earlier ruled was a “nuisance” candidate—as a substitute candidate for Señeres.
Soguilon, accompanied by the party’s secretary general Mel Chavez, brought with her a certificate of nomination from Señeres’ party.
Chavez filed, earlier on Tuesday, a notice of death with motion to declare vacant the slot of the PMMWPP.
The Comelec earlier said that Señeres’ party could field a replacement provided that the substitute would be from the same party and had the same last name.
Comelec Resolution 9984 states that a substitute for a candidate who died or is disqualified may file a certificate of candidacy up to mid-day of May 9, the day of the elections. However, the resolution said the substitute should have the same surname as the candidate being substituted.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Señeres’ name would remain in the ballot until the receipt by the poll body of official notification from the family of the late lawmaker that they would name a substitute.
“Unless we are told officially that they really have no intention of substituting, the Comelec is constrained to wait for noon on election day until a substitute candidacy is filed. In the meantime, the name of Ambassador Señeres will remain on the ballot,” Jimenez told a press briefing.
“That makes us feel sad. Ambassador Señeres essentially gave his life to the service of OFWs. I think he should be remembered for that rather than as a name in the ballot that cannot be voted for. We are appealing to the family to make it known to us, and for the party to make known to us their plans about substitution. I hope they can finalize that,” he added.
Jimenez reiterated that substitution at this stage of the campaign would be allowed only for partymates with the same surname as the candidate.
“If there’s anybody who filed as a substitute, the law department will come up with its recommendation as well as the reasons for dealing with the application,” he said. SFM
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