Sen. Ping Lacson
By Junex Doronio
October 14, 2021
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu – Seemingly apprehensive that survey front-runner Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio may change her mind and gun for the country’s top elective post, presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson on Thursday expressed support to a proposal to ban candidate substitution unless the candidate died or disqualified.
Lacson and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez aired their disapproval of candidate substitution amid reports that presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio may imitate her father, then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte who substituted Barangay Captain Martin Diño, standard-bearer of the PDP-Laban party during the 2016 polls.
“In case of death or incapacity or the candidate, saka lang pwedeng mag-substitute [and then substitution can be allowed]. Pero [But] other than that, I don’t think it is fair and it is rational…na magpa-file [that you will file] with no intention at all to really go through with the campaign and the election proper,” Lacson said on Thursday’s Pandesal Forum.
On Wednesday, October 13, Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed House Bill No. 10380 that seeks to prohibit a political party from substituting any candidate, unless for the reason of death or disqualification.
“While there is nothing wrong with substitution in case of death or disqualification which is justifiable, substitution because of withdrawal, or what others call voluntary substitution, may pose serious questions and may lead to the manipulation and mockery of the election process,” Rodriguez said.
The Omnibus Election Code currently allows the substitution of a candidate in case of death, disqualification, or withdrawal of another aspirant, Rodriguez pointed out in filing the bill.
Some political analysts said Duterte-Carpio may substitute Grepor “Butch” Belgica as presidential candidate of the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), a national political party in the Philippines accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on October 30, 2018.
“Bryan Escandor of PDDS Bicol told me that Mayor Sara is one of their Advisers and considered as a founding member. Will these suffice to make her as a member of the party in good standing to qualify her as a substitute for Butch Belgica? And even if this will pass the scrutiny of the COMELEC, the ultimate decision still rests on Mayor Sara. Is she going to go for it and run, or not?” former National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Peter Lavina, a close friend of the Dutertes, revealed on his Facebook post.