Bet substitution by COC withdrawal banned

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Bet substitution by COC withdrawal banned
George Erwin Garcia Chairman, COMELEC
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines —  The Commission on Elections has unanimously decided not to allow candidate substitution based on withdrawal after the weeklong filing of certificate of candidacy (COC), Comelec officials said yesterday.

“Candidates, lay your cards on the table. Be up front about your candidacy and there will be no more changes,” Comelec Chairman George Garcia said. “If you’re really decided, then lay it out at once. File your candidacy.”

At the Bagong Pilipinas public briefing yesterday, Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco said the commission has set from Oct. 1 to 8 the filing of COC for those running in the 2025 midterm elections.

At the same time, groups participating in the party-list elections may also file a Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance.

Laudiangco said the Comelec would allow filing of withdrawal and substitution only from Oct. 1 to 8. “If a candidate with a political party will withdraw from Oct. 9 onwards, it will no longer be allowed to substitute other candidate,” he noted in Filipino.

Garcia said the commission will only allow substitution of candidate on grounds of death or disqualification.

He said the substitute candidate must have the same surname as the one replaced and must belong to the same political party.

The official list of those running will be released early, according to the Comelec, to give voters enough time to screen them and file disqualification complaints if necessary.

Soon after the end of COC filing, Laudiangco said the Comelec will post the certified list of candidates in all the poll body’s offices.

“For what purpose? To show the public that these people have filed COC and so the evaluation and research into their persons can start if they deserve our vote or not,” he stressed.

Since it’s an automated election, Laudiangco said the list of candidates will also be posted on Comelec’s website for the public to see and thoroughly look into the identities of the aspirants.

“In order to see who are the candidates and those who want to file cancellation of COC, disqualification, nuisance can file at the correct Comelec office,” he added.

Laudiangco said the commission will also allow electronic filing of petitions for disqualification or cancellation of COC so that complaints can be resolved quicker.

He said the commission wants all pending disqualification cases to have been resolved and nuisance candidates removed before the printing of ballots.

Despite the absence of an enabling law, the Comelec is pushing through with the planned internet voting in the May 2025 elections for Filipino voters abroad.

Garcia reported yesterday that the commissioners decided against the cancellation of the planned internet voting.

“We weighed the implications, all the possibilities, and we saw the need to proceed with the internet voting although it’s not in the law because no one is questioning it anyway before the Supreme Court,” Garcia told reporters.

“We felt the consequences would be heavier if we canceled internet voting, which is presently being expected by our countrymen abroad,” the chairman added.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III previously expressed his reservations over the use of internet voting in the 2025 midterm elections.

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