#Halalan2022 is fast approaching. If you’ve been following Philippine politics closely the past week, you’ll see that it’s been a whirlwind of withdrawals and substitutions. Curious about what the situation is right now, and why everything that happened is allowed under the Omnibus Election Code? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a quick primer on last week’s highlights.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) called it an “unprecedented” number of changes. A total of 10 substitutions for national elective posts for #Halalan2022 were recorded by Comelec before the November 15 deadline. In addition, 15 aspirants voluntarily withdrew their certificates of candidacy (COCs).
Major Withdrawals and Substitutions
Notable changes include the withdrawal of Senator Christoper “Bong” Go from the vice presidential race, to instead run for president. Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also withdrew his COC for the presidency.
The most publicized perhaps is the substitution of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who replaced Lyle Uy under the Lakas-CMD ticket to run for vice president. Shortly after that, senatorial aspirant Liezl Vizorde under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) withdrew their COC to make way for President Rodrigo Duterte.
Another headliner well before the past week was former vice president Noli de Castro, who withdrew his COC for senator under Aksyon Demokratiko. He was replaced by Joseph “Jopet” Sison of “Ipaglaban Mo” fame. The party founded by the late Senator Raul Roco is now led by presidential candidate Isko Moreno from Manila.
Other notable aspirants for #Halalan2022 who replaced lesser-known filers in their respective political parties are the following:
- Antonio Parlade Jr., former NTF-ELCAC spokesperson, replacing Antonio Valdes for president
- Guillermo Eleazar, former PNP Chief, replacing Paolo Capino for senator
- and Harry Roque, former presidential spokesperson, replacing Paolo Martelino for senator.
Substitutions occurring “at the highest levels” – Comelec
For his part, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez confirms this increase in the number of substitutions for #Halalan2022. For Jimenez, in previous years, it was rare to see these substitutions on a national level.
“Substitution has been going on for a long time. It’s been part and parcel of the practice in Philippine politics. Maybe it’s only now that it became more prominent precisely because it is played out at the highest levels,” said Jimenez.
He adds that starting November 16, aspirants can still withdraw their COCs at any time. However, no more substitutions would be accepted for voluntary withdrawals.
Electoral Substitutions are officially allowed under the Omnibus Election Code
Despite the unprecedented number, these kinds of substitutions leading up to #Halalan2022 are actually allowed under the Omnibus Election Code. According to section 77, an accredited or registered political party can field another candidate after the COC filing period if:
- the official candidate dies,
- the official candidate gets disqualified,
- or the official candidate voluntarily withdraws or drops out from the race.
However, this is only allowed if the replacement belongs to and is nominated by the same accredited political party or coalition of the original aspirant.