MANILA- Candidate substitution for the 2019 midterm polls will be allowed up to midday of election day as long as the replacement has the same surname of the withdrawing candidate.
This is part of the new relaxed rules of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) promulgated in a resolution earlier this month.
Comelec Resolution No. 10420 allows candidates, even those who voluntarily withdraw from the race, to be replaced by another person who shares his or her surname.
"As long as you have a substitute which is of the same last name, then they have up to midday of election day to file their COC (certificate of candidacy)," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told ANC's "Beyond Politics" on Tuesday.
The ballots, however, will still carry the name of the withdrawn candidate but votes for him or her will be credited to the substitute.
Compared to the poll body's rules on candidate substitution during the 2016 national elections, the new one gives a "wider latitude of choice for the public," Jimenez said.
In previous elections, candidates who withdraw from the race can only have a substitute months before election day.
Only substitutes for candidates who died or were disqualified were allowed to file their COCs up to midday of election day provided that the substitute shares the same surname as the original candidate.
With nearly 8 months left before election day, Jimenez said the new rule may still be challenged.
"I think the thinking behind that is it allows more people to run for office," Jimenez said.