‘No sub for independents’: Comelec says amid rumors of prexy bet replacement

October 8, 2021 - 6:09 PM
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Comelec office
This undated 2016 photo shows the Commission on Elections office at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila. (Philstar.com/AJ Bolando)

A Commission on Elections official on Friday reminded the public that persons running as independents cannot be substituted.

Poll spokesperson James Jimenez tweeted this reminder on October 8 after he was asked if candidates without a political party or independents can be replaced by another qualified individual.

His comment also came amid rumors of a potential substitution candidate for the presidency.

Some Filipinos voiced out this suspicion after Ernesto Abella, Duterte’s former spokesperson, suddenly filed a certificate of candidacy for president on the last day of the filing.

The filing of COCs ran from October 1 to 8.

They speculated that Abella might be the one to back out later to give way for another official to run in his place.

“Bumenta na yan uy!” one Twitter user said.

“Tas magbaback out? Tas may papalit? Kase may clamor? Your plot sounds familiar,” another user wrote.

Abella, however, is not running as a member of PDP-Laban.

Rather, he joined the race as an independent candidate.

No substitution for independents

Amid these suspicions and rumors, Jimenez pointed out that independent candidates cannot be a substitute for another aspirant.

He tweeted this as a quote-retweet to a user who asked: “Can candidates without a political party (independents) be replaced by any qualified person by November 15th? Or is replacement only allowed if a political party is listed in the original COC? Thanks!”

Jimenez quote-retweeted this and wrote: “Substitution is not available for persons running as independents.”

In a reply to this, another user asked what would happen if the independent candidate applied to be a member of a political party-list before the November 15 deadline.

“But if the ‘independent’ candidate ‘decides’ to ‘apply’ for membership in a national level party after today until November 15, the period for substitution, that means they can legally have anyone from that newly-joined party substitute them?” the user said.

Jimenez quote-retweeted this and stated that if that were the case, the independent candidate has until today, October 8, to change their COC to file a certificate of nomination and acceptance.

“A person who filed a COC as an independent only has until today to cancel that original COC and file another with a CONA,” he said.

Throughout this week, supporters of Sara Duterte-Carpio, Davao City mayor, had flocked along the streets of Pasay City to egg her on her presidential bid.

The younger Duterte, however, had already filed her candidacy for reelection in her family’s hometown.

RELATED: Comelec spox says COC filers to blame if pre-filing rallies turn out as superspreader events 

In a Facebook post, she also retained her stance to run for Davao City’s local chief executive for the third time.

“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,” Duterte wrote.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s long-time aide who was planned to gun for the highest seat of the land eventually filed for vice presidency on October 2.

Rodrigo accompanied him during the filing of his COC. It was also then that he announced his retirement from politics.

In 2015, Martin Diño, now Interior and Local Government undersecretary, filed COC for president under PDP-Laban.

He later withdrew his candidacy and was replaced by now president Rodrigo as the political party’s presidential bet.

Last October 5, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said a substitute must belong to the same political party.