Palace: Premature to claim that substitution rules on candidacy are being abused

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace: Premature to claim that substitution rules on candidacy are being abused
Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa (right) holds his certificate of candidacy for president in the 2022 national elections. Accompanying him is Sen. Francis Tolentino.
PDP-Laban via Melvin Matibag

MANILA, Philippines — It is premature to react to claims that the substitution rules for candidates are being abused, Malacañang said Thursday, as suspicions mount that some individuals who filed their certificates of candidacy (COC) are mere placeholders.

"Well, I do not know about the supposed abuse (of the rule on substitution) because no one has substituted (for a candidate). Perhaps we would have a conclusion if somebody has substituted," presidential spokesman Harry Roque told GMA News.

"Second, that's in the law. So for now, no one has substituted. It's premature to say that it is being abused," he added.

The filing of the COC ended last October 8 but the deadline for the substitution of candidates is until November 15.

Critics have accused Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, the candidate for president of the PDP-Laban faction led by President Duterte and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, of being a placeholder for Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Carpio has rejected calls for her to run for president and has filed her COC for reelection in next year's polls.

Dela Rosa has said he is willing to withdraw his COC if Carpio accepts the PDP-Laban's offer for her to become its candidate for president. According to Dela Rosa, he was not told that he would just be a temporary standard bearer while Carpio is not available. The senator, a former police chief who is considered the architect of Duterte's drug war, added that he was presenting himself as the "legitimate standard bearer" of PDP-Laban.

In 2015, Duterte, then the mayor of Davao City, substituted for Martin Dino as PDP-Laban's standard bearer and went on to win the 2016 presidential race by landslide.

Last Tuesday, Deputy speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez called for an "absolute ban" on the substitution of candidates by political parties. He noted that some candidates for president were seen to be mere proxies for some personalities even if they can be considered as serious aspirants.

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