SUBSTITUTION of candidates should be restricted, not banned, Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez said Friday, October 15, 2021.
"What needs to happen is that Congress should introduce restrictions of some sort on the exercise of the statutory privilege of substitution," he said in a social media post.
He said this is because he believes that there are enough reasons to maintain the said option for candidates and their political parties.
"I deplore the thinking that results in this 'strategy'. But I also see the intrinsic worth of the system of substitution," said Jimenez.
At the same time, he said he understands the recent call of the people to ban the policy.
"There was a time when these negotiations happened behind closed doors, before the deadline for filing COCs passed. Now, it's all being played out in the open and it makes the public uncomfortable seeing what used to be hidden from them," Jimenez said.
Earlier, House Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Representative Rufus Rodriguez pushed for the passage of a measure that will prevent the substitution of candidates during elections.
Rodriguez said there is a need for an almost absolute ban on substitution of candidates by political parties in order to put an end to the "manipulation and mockery of the election process.”
The proposal comes on the heels of the pronouncement of PDP-Laban presidential candidate Senator Ronald dela Rosa that he would be willing to be substituted by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio in case she decides to heed calls for her to run for president.
Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Senator Francis Pangilinan also admitted that he was willing to withdraw his candidacy to give way to a stronger runningmate for Vice President Leni Robredo.
Under Comelec rules, an aspirant/official candidate of a duly registered political party, who dies, withdraws or is disqualified after the last day for the filing of COCs may be substituted by an aspirant/official candidate belonging to and nominated by the same political party.
The deadline for substitution for the May 2022 elections is on November 15, 2021. (HDT / SunStar Philippines)