By Russell Louis C. Ku
A HOUSE LEADER has filed two separate bills to ensure that those who file their certificates of candidacy for national and local posts have a sincere intent to run for public office.
House Deputy Speaker Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez filed House Bills 10380 and 10381 on Wednesday seeking to amend Batas Pambansa 881 or the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines.
House Bill 10380 proposes to limit substitution in cases of a candidate’s death or disqualification before election day.
House Bill 10381, meanwhile, would reinstate a rule requiring incumbent elected officials to effectively resign from their posts if they file for another government position.
Current election laws allow substitution up to a set deadline if a candidate withdraws.
Mr. Rodriguez, who represents Cagayan de Oro City, said on Tuesday that the practice of substituting withdrawn candidates has led to a “manipulation and mockery of the election process.”
He also said that the ban on voluntary substitution would give the Commission on Elections (Comelec) additional time to screen potential candidates for government posts, prepare final list of candidates, and print the official ballots.
Lakas-CMD secretary-general Prospero A. Pichay, Jr. admitted to reporters Monday evening that their party have only fielded placeholders for president and vice president as they still hope for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to run for president.
Senator Ronald M. dela Rosa, who filed to run for president under the PDP-Laban party, has also said he is ready to give his slot to Ms. Carpio, who filed for reelection in Davao, if she decides to join the presidential race.
Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez on Wednesday said the admission of filling a certificate of candidacy as a placeholder is not enough grounds for declaration as a nuisance candidate.
Senators Vicente C. Sotto III and Aquilino “Koko” L. Pimentel III have also expressed support for a review on the substitution of candidates as the provision has been “abused” by political parties.
Substitution of candidates is allowed until Nov. 15 for the May 2022 national and local elections.
On the automatic resignation of incumbents, the provision was repealed by the enactment of Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Election Act. Only appointed officials running for office are required to resign.
“This would force aspirants to take running for higher office seriously,” Mr. Rodriguez said.
Meanwhile, a former Liberal Party official will be replacing former vice president and broadcast journalist Manuel Leuterio “Noli” de Castro, Jr. in next year’s senatorial race, according to Aksyon Demokratiko.
The party announced in a statement Thursday that former Liberal Party Quezon City chairman Joseph Peter “Jopet” S. Sison will take the place of Mr. De Castro, who withdrew on Wednesday.
Mr. Sison served as assistant manager of the National Housing Authority from 2001 to 2005, president of the National Home Mortgage Finance Corp., and served as Quezon City councilor for six years.
He lost his bid for vice mayor of Quezon City in 2019 under PDP-Laban.