‘Substitution’ speculation floats as Bato dela Rosa files COC for president

October 8, 2021 - 8:36 PM
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Bato dela Rosa COC
Sen. Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa files COC for president under PDP-LABAN in Oct. 8, 2021. (Photo from Twitter/COMELEC)

Is Sen. Bato dela Rosa paving the way for the candidacy of another individual?

Some Filipinos raised the possibility of “substitution” after the former police chief filed his certificate of candidacy for president under PDP-Laban while wearing a Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) shirt on Friday.

The architect of President Rodrigo Duterte‘s “War on Drugs” campaign arrived at the Harbor Garden Tent at Sofitel to submit his COC, along with other political hopefuls under the ruling party.

Dela Rosa’s presidential bid was backed by Duterte, who also arrived at the COC filing venue to support his party-list’s bets.

“I am fielded by my political party, the PDP-Laban for reasons that wala na silang ibang nakita na magpapatuloy sa legacy ng ating Pangulong Duterte, iyong ating laban sa droga, kriminalidad, korapsyon at terorismo,” the lawmaker was quoted as saying.

His running mate will be aspiring vice president Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go.

Dela Rosa was also asked if it is possible that he will be substituted by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as PDP-Laban’s standard bearer for the 2022 elections.

“Edi mas maganda… this is a party decision, this is not my personal decision,” he answered.

The presidential daughter has filed her COC to run as a reelectionist for a mayoral position in her family’s hometown for a third term.

She is also under HNP, a regional party that she founded in 2018 in support of her father’s government.

Meanwhile, a reporter in the COC filing asked Dela Rosa if he considers the practice of substituting candidates a mockery of the election process.

“Why? Do I look like a mockery to you? I won as a senator, number 5 po ako last election. Is that mockery?” he answered.

Sen. Koko Pimentel, chair of the PDP-Laban Pacquaio faction, said that all of the Cusi faction’s nomination processes “were useless” in response to the development.

“Walang nasunod sa national convention nila,” he was quoted as saying.

“Somebody who runs for president on a spur of the moment decision is not a serious candidate,” Pimentel added.

There were some Filipinos who likewise questioned Dela Rosa’s presidential bid on social media, claiming that it could be a tactic for “substitution.”

“So Bato is running for President under PDP-Laban? Well, we all know what this is for. TOOL FOR SUBSTITUTION. Tama na sa drama!” a Twitter user wrote in response to the news reports.

“Possible playbook: Sara joins PDP-Laban so that she can substitute for Bato as one can’t do that if they are NOT IN THE SAME PARTY. Possible drop out ang other candidates then aligning themselves with her HNP party via coalition. It’ll come out na she’s the UNIFYING one, ‘di ba?” another online user speculated.

“Playtime 101 Module: SUBSTITUTION. Just like what Tatay Digong did last November 2015, Mayor Inday Sara will substitute for Bato next month. Her national headquarters is ready. Same old story,” a different Twitter user likewise speculated.

Based on the guidelines of the Commission on Elections, political parties and coalitions that field a candidate can choose to substitute him/her if the following happens after COC filing: The candidate dies, the candidate withdraws, or is disqualified by Comelec.

For the 2022 elections, a substitute candidate can file for COC until Nov. 15, 2021, if any of the three things happened.

If the original candidate dies or is disqualified, the substitute can file their COC from Nov. 16, 2021 until midday of May 9, 2022, provided the substitute and the original candidate have the same surname. But substitutes cannot run in case of withdrawals during this period.

The substitute should also belong to and be nominated by the political party or coalition of the original candidate, as confirmed by Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon.

Duterte-Carpio, who has been fielded by her father as a presidential bet, previously filed her COC as a reelectionist for the Davao City mayoral position.

It will be her third term as a local chief executive.

“I am presenting myself to the Dabawenyos as mayor for the third and last time in my life as a politician. I call on everyone to work together for an honest, orderly and credible elections in May 2022,” she wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.

Duterte-Carpio also released another Facebook post on Wednesday where she said that she wanted to her finish her term as a mayor first before embarking on another position.

“Madami sa inyo ang nasasaktan, sumama ang loob at nawalan ng pag-asa pero puwede pa rin tayo magtulungan para sa ating bayan, ‘di kailangan ng position, ‘di kailangan ng tayo ay Pangulo upang makatulong. Gawin natin ang pagtulong sa kapwa sa araw-araw natin na pamumuhay,” she said.

In 2015, now-DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño submitted his COC for presidency under PDP-Laban. It was discovered that there were “clerical errors” on his COC as the succeeding lines stated he was running as Pasay City mayor.

PDP-Laban then fielded Duterte as its substitutional presidential bet.

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