By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Sorsogon Gov. Chiz Escudero is pushing for amendments in the
Omnibus Election Code to bring reason and coherence to a provision
pertaining to the withdrawal and substitution of candidates running
for public office.
Escudero issued the statement following a frenzy of withdrawals by
placeholders and substitution by candidates, who have previously filed
for different elective positions, over the weekend ahead of the
November 15 deadline for such under the law.
“Aside from prohibiting voluntary withdrawal/substitution, we should
revert to the old rule that someone who has filed his/her COC
(certificate of candidacy) cannot substitute,” the veteran legislator
said. “This is a more rational, reasonable and coherent rule if only
to give rhyme and reason to the ‘last day of filing.’”
The former senator earlier stated that the rules of the Omnibus
Election Code allowing substitution of candidates until November 15
has rendered inutile the October 8 deadline for filing of the COC for
the 2022 elections.
It also undermined the sanctity of the electoral process, he pointed out.
Under the election law, the substitution of candidates is allowed in case
of death, disqualification, or withdrawal of individuals seeking
an elective position. However, during the filing period of the COC, some
aspirants and political parties have openly declared that they were
running or fielding candidates as “placeholders.”
“The filing (of COC) should be a conscious, voluntary and selfless act
to offer yourself to the ‘altar of ballot’ for the sole purpose of
serving the people. It’s not done to please anyone, person, group or
party, much less to play with and circumvent the intent of the
electoral process,” Escudero said.
According to Escudero, he is in favor of retaining the “involuntary”
substitution of candidates just to avert political violence and death
during elections. Involuntary substitution, he explained, happens when
a candidate becomes ill to push through with the candidacy or dies.
Escudero, who has served the Senate from 2007-2019, is running again
in next year’s May national elections for senator under the
Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). (ai/mtvn)