The Commission on Elections said Wednesday a “placeholder” for the actual candidate in the forthcoming 2022 national elections would not constitute enough grounds to declare that person as a nuisance bet unless there was proof he or she was not qualified.
“It should also be proven that the placeholder lacks bona fide intention to run,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
“A mere declaration to the contrary wouldn’t, in my opinion, be sufficient to overcome the intention to run which is manifested in the verified certificate of candidacy,”
Jimenez issued the statement after several groups hit political parties that used the November 15 substitution deadline set by Comelec as part of their political strategy.
Last week, a certain Anna Capela Velasco, a member of Lakas-Christian Muslim Demiocrats, filed a certificate of candidacy for president.
The party’s secretary general and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. said they are open to having presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, as substitute candidate in case she changes her mind about not gunning for a national position.
Another presidential bet, Senator Ronaldo dela Rosa of a faction of the PDP-Laban, admitted he was willing to be replaced by Duterte-Carpio for the May 2022 national elections.
Meanwhile, Deputy Minority Leader Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate assailed candidates who were merely waiting to be substituted before the deadline set by the Commission on Elections, and urged the poll body to declare them as nuisance candidates.
“This kind of practice makes a mockery of the election system and is a ruse to fool the electorate,” said Zarate, nominee of the party-list group Bayan Muna.
“If you want to run in the elections, you should have studied the matter closely and not because you were just persuaded into filing a certificate of candidacy for the purpose of being replaced by another person,” said the Davao-based congressman.
Zarate made the statement as several House leaders pressed the Comelec to remove the substitution option for candidates.
Echoing their sentiment, Zarate said: “I am challenging the Comelec to immediately declare these place holder candidates as nuisance for making a mockery of the election process and insulting the intelligence of the voters.”
According to Zarate, “these candidates should even be punished for this election atrocity.”
“We are also calling on the people to reject and junk these types of candidates and parties because they are just taking everyone for a ride,” Zarate added.