MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will look into a proposal to amend the country’s election substitution law after the May 2022 elections.
“After this election, talagang mare-review natin 'yung tungkol sa nuisance, 'yung tungkol sa substitution, 'yung tungkol sa withdrawal etc., kasi isa po sa nadiscuss namin kahapon ay 'yung pending bill sa Senate tungkol sa amendment sa substitution in case of withdrawal,” Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said in a press briefing on Thursday.
“Hindi ba 'yung sinasabi naabuso daw withdrawal, sinasabi dapat 'di pinapayagan 'yung withdrawal na may substitution lalo pa't para pinaasa mo tao,” he added.
There are pending bills in the House and Senate seeking to scrap the electoral provision allowing substitution after a voluntary withdrawal of a candidate.
In 2016, then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte substituted Martin Dino who initially filed for president before the substitution deadline.
In 2021, the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte also substituted for a partymate who had filed for vice president before the substitution deadline.
These incidents have led to calls for scrapping the substitution provision of the electoral law.
Last November, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the system on candidates' substitution is "being gamed," but Congress would have the right and the power to amend these provisions.
Substitution of political aspirants was allowed originally to balance the need to protect a person's right to run and not run for public office and the need to protect a political party from a "whimsical withdrawal," he had stressed.
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