THE Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Resolution No. 10717 provides that the substitute of an aspirant who died, withdrew his candidacy, or was disqualified may file his Certificate of Candidacy for the concerned office on or before November 15, 2021 and that no substitution due to withdrawal shall be allowed after November 15, 2021.
There have been substitutions before but with the immediate past national election, the sitting president has made a trend in “surprising” the electorates as to what position he would run away back then until he was elected the highest leader of the land. Recently, the substitution of candidates became a fad for the national and local positions. The former became apparent due to the popularity of candidates for next year’s polls withdrawing or filing their candidacies.
President Rodrigo Duterte was once believed to be running for the Vice-Presidency but slid down to running for senator. His ally, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go who was previously running for vice-president is now running for the presidency.
The daughter of the President and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who was previously pushed to gun for the presidency and after establishing her own political party, is now running for the vice-president under a different political party. Another notable Duterte ally, Senator Ronaldo “Bato” Dela Rosa has withdrawn his presidential bid.
The ruling imposed by the Comelec particularly on substitution has been abused. While it is allowed, those who use such allowable practice are abusing it. The policy on such is not regulated thus, the presumption of regularity on any government activity can be applied to such.
The said practice is bringing confusion to people. Critics say that the sanctity of the electoral process is sacrificed and that the same is being made a political circus. One political watchdog brands it as a disastrous political spectacle that is tainting a democratic political exercise.
If we may suggest, substitution should be regulated if not prohibited. The said privilege should be limited and only be applied if a candidate dies, go incapacitated, or may have other justifiable reasons that may warrant substitution and not by mere reason of change of mind or preference.
We cannot blame the Comelec meanwhile for implementing such a procedure as it is enshrined in the powers of the poll body as a Constitutional Commission to implement some electoral laws. We cannot afford to be dizzy on some candidates who are fond of changing their aspired positions.
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November 19, 2021
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