4 in Cebu back out: Candidate substitution no longer allowed
(The Freeman) - December 10, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Those running for the May 2016 elections who withdrew their candidacy can no longer get substitution as the deadline has ended yesterday.

The Commission on Elections set the deadline to give time for the body to start printing the official ballots to be used in next year’s elections, said Comelec-Cebu elections officer Ferdinand Gujilde.

Only aspirants nominated by the same political party can be substituted, but an independent aspirant cannot be substituted as provided for under the Comelec guidelines.

Based on the Comelec records, only three aspirants in Cebu seeking posts in the Provincial Board and House of Representatives withdrew their candidacies. They were Rheamae Paran of One Cebu Party, who would supposedly run for Provincial Board member representing the third district, one Virginia Velasco of United Nationalist Alliance for congresswoman representing the fifth district, and barangay councilor Abel Dondoyano in Poro, Camotes also for PB member representing the fifth district.

Former PB member Bienvenido Gonzalez, former Compostela mayor Gilbert Wagas, and one Doris Arquillano took the place of Paran, Velasco and Dondoyano, respectively.

Velasco was bringing a special power of attorney (SPA) since Wagas was still detained at the New Bilibid Prison for graft. Wagas’ appeal is still pending with the Supreme Court.

Gujilde said it is the final judgment of the court that can bar a candidate from running public post.

Campaign period for candidates for president, vice president, senator and party-list representative will be from February 9 to May 7, 2016, while for members of the House of Representatives, and elective regional, provincial, city, and municipal officials would be from March 25 until May 7, 2016.

Gujilde, however, said a candidate may still be substituted even up to mid-day of election day, but this time, the cause for substitution would either be death or disqualification of the one being substituted, provided that the substitute and the substituted have the same surnames.

If the death or disqualification occurs between the day before the election and mid-day of election day, the substitute candidate may file his COC with any Board of Election Inspectors in the political subdivision where he is a candidate, still following the same surnames rule.

A candidate may be disqualified if he commits election offenses specified under section 68 of the Omnibus Election Code.

These offenses include giving of money or other material consideration “to influence, induce or corrupt the voters or public officials performing electoral functions,” commission of acts of terrorism to enhance his candidacy, or if he is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country, among others.

Cebu City

Meanwhile, in Cebu City, only one out of 64 political aspirants withdrew his candidacy.

Cambinocot barangay captain Reynaldo Lauron, an independent aspirant for city councilor in the north district, withdrew his COC last month yet, said Cebu City north district election officer Marchel Sarno.

“Last day nato karon, isa lang ang ni-withdraw,” said Sarno.

Lauron said he decided to cancel his candidacy because he wants to give his “solid vote” to the Team Rama headed by Mayor Michael Rama.

“Usa ra jud akong rason, ang pagsuporta sa tibuok slate sa Team Rama aron makadungag ko og boto. Mao na akong makatampo sa Team Rama ug solid vote ko nila,” he said.  (FREEMAN)


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