Seneres' party to field nuisance bet as substitute

ABS-CBN News

Family wants Comelec to remove Seneres' name from ballot

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Partido Manggagawa at Magsasaka (PMM) has chosen a substitute for its standard bearer, the late OFW Family Club Party-list Rep. Roy Señeres, but his family opposes the move, saying they want the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to remove his name from the ballot.

The PMM on Tuesday said it will field Apolonia Soguilon as substitute presidential candidate for Señeres, who passed away Monday.

The party asked the Comelec en banc to declare Señeres' slot vacant before it formally fields his substitute.

In a press briefing Tuesday afternoon, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has yet to receive official word from either the family or party of Señeres if they will field any substitute candidate.

Under the law, in case of death of any candidate or disqualification after the deadline of substitution, the candidate, who belongs to a political party, may be substituted until noontime of election day by someone with the same surname.

"As a general rule, substitutions at this stage of the campaign are allowed only for party-mates who have the same surname as the candidate himself. Since no substitution has yet been filed, I cannot actually comment..."

"I suggest that if they are gonna file, go ahead and file it, and then let the law department come up with its recommendation as well as the reasons for dealing with the application as it will," he said.

Soguilon's substitution may still face another hurdle since she was earlier declared as a nuisance candidate by the Comelec when she first filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president as an independent. 

"Kung papayagan ba siyang mag-file, aba oo naman. As far as filing is concerned, that is ministerial on the part of the Comelec to receive. Whether or not the filing will be given due course, that's a different question," said Jimenez.

"And in many cases, ang pagbabasehan mo diyan ay kung meron nga ba talagang [certificate of nomination]," he added.

Jimenez nonetheless appealed to the family and party of Señeres not to field a substitute for the late ambassador "just because."

"We're appealing on the basis of the memory of Ambassador Señeres din na, you know sa salitang balbal, huwag na nating gamitin yung slot na yun just because it's there. Di ba?" he said.

"He has contributed much to the welfare of our Filipino brothers and sisters overseas. If someone's going to mount a run for the presidency using his name, using his slot, one would hope it is a legitimate run that. Hindi yung just because."

The family of Señeres, meanwhile, later expressed opposition to the move of the PMM to field Soguilon as substitute presidential candidate.

The family filed an urgent manifestation before the Comelec asking the poll body to remove Señeres' name from the ballot for the May 9, 2016 elections.

Señeres' lawyer, Atty. Candy Rivas, stressed that substitution should be made according to the rules.

Señeres, who was suffering from diabetes, succumbed to cardiac and pulmonary arrest on Monday, just days after he backed out of the 2016 presidential race.

He formally withdrew his bid for the presidency Friday last week citing health reasons. -- With reports from Pia Gutierrez, ABS-CBN News

READ: Seneres' withdrawal a family decision, says daughter