Lacson in favor of banning candidate substitution due to withdrawal

Lacson in favor of banning candidate substitution due to withdrawal
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, chaired by Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, conducts a public hearing on August 27, 2019 on the series of shooting incidents in Negros Oriental. Police officials who attended the hearing gave an update on their investigation on the string of shooting incidents which killed at least 21 persons – 17 civilians and four policemen in just 10 days, from July 18 to July 28, 2019. Killings continued in August, claiming at least four more lives. Also in photo is Sen Panfilo Lacson.
PRIB Photo by Cesar Tomambo

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday backed proposals to prohibit candidate substitution outside of "very exceptional cases." 

"Yes, I fully support the amendment to the Omnibus Election Code that when you file, that’s it," Lacson, who has filed his own candidacy for president, said partially in Filipino at a Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum. 

Article IX, Section 77 of the law in question allows substitution after the filing of candidacy if "an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause."

In those cases, "only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified."

For Lacson, substitution should only be allowed "under very exceptional cases," such as "death or incapacity of the candidate." 

"Other than that, I don’t think it's fair and...rational, if I may say, to file with no intention to really go through with the campaign and the election proper," he said. 

Earlier Thursday, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro) filed House Bill No. 10380, which seeks to prohibit political parties from substituting candidates unless they have died or have been disqualified. 

Dela Rosa admits he would make way for Sara Duterte 

This comes amid speculation that the administration-led faction of the PDP-Laban party plans to field for president someone other than Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa who surfaced as its standard-bearer at the last hour of candidacy filing last week. 

Dela Rosa himself has said that he would step aside for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who filed her candidacy for reelection rather than the presidency.

In response to criticism that the former national police chief's candidacy was a "mockery" of the electoral process, the PDP-Laban faction in a statement Thursday stressed that the election rules currently allow for substitution due to withdrawal. 

"It’s not a mockery of the elections law if the political parties use every available legal option, or time, for them to finally decide the candidates to field,” the party's secretary-general Melvin Matibag said.

But an election lawyer for Vice President Leni Robredo, also a presidential candidate, earlier this week said Dela Rosa could be declared a nuisance candidate for openly admitting that he would drop out to give way for Duterte.

The Comelec has said statements like that are not enough to show that one is a nuisance candidate. — Bella Perez-Rubio 





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