MANILA— The spokesperson of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Wednesday that mere pronouncement of being a "placeholder" candidate "wouldn't be sufficient" as a ground to declare the bet a "nuisance."
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said this after several filers of certificates of candidacy (COC) admitted they are willing to be substituted, with one party official saying their standard bearers are just placeholders.
"A mere declaration to the contrary wouldn't, in my opinion, be sufficient to overcome the intention to run which is manifested in the verified COC," Jimenez told reporters.
On Monday, Lakas-CMD secretary general and Deputy Speaker Prospero Pichay told ABS-CBN News that the party's presidential and vice presidential bets are placeholders.
Pichay later denied the admission, but still said the party would welcome Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio sa standard bearer in case she changes her mind about running.
PDP-Laban Cusi wing standard bearer Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa likewise said he would "by all means" withdraw in the event that Duterte-Carpio, the survey frontrunner, does a U-turn.
Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, a vice presidential aspirant, also said he is "open" to be replaced as Leni Robredo's running mate.
But, Jimenez said, "the lack of a bona fide intention to run needs to be proven."
In an earlier interview, election lawyer Emil Marañon told ABS-CBN News the admission could form part of evidence in case a petition would be filed against an alleged placeholder.
"Public admissions and public statements contrary to one's interest is always admissible in any court including Comelec," Marañon said.
Under Comelec's rule of procedure, a candidate can be considered a nuisance if he:
- wants to put election process in mockery or disrepute
- wants to cause confusion among voters
- clearly demonstrated to have no bona fide intention to run
The period for filing COCs ended on Oct. 8, while substitutions may be made until Nov. 15.