Solons hail Comelec ban on bet substitution

May 17, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 149 views

HOUSE leaders on Thursday commended the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ban substitution of candidates after the deadline for filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) for the 2025 midterm elections.

In a press conference, Reps. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr. (Manila, 6th District) and Zia Alonto Adiong (Lanao del Sur, 1st District) jointly articulated their stance against bet substitution resulting from withdrawal, asserting that such practices undermine the integrity of the electoral process.

In banning candidate substitution, Abante said the poll body took a decisive action in eliminating electoral drama and surprises.

“Wala na ‘yung surpre-surpresa, wala na ‘yung drama,” Abante said, alluding to the practice of some candidates engaging in last-minute withdrawal and substitution to gain an advantage in the elections.

“Kaya ang desisyon ng Comelec ay isang paalala na sa halalan, hindi dapat gamitin ang loopholes o mga paraan upang mag-manipulate,” Abante added. “Dapat alalahanin na ang integrity at transparency ay mahalaga sa tunay na demokrasya.”

Adiong firmly stated that bet substitution should not find a place in the country’s electoral system, and those who resort to such tactics and strategies should not be tolerated.

“It is a commendable act on the part of Comelec to really finally put an end to this mockery of our electoral processes,” Adiong stressed.

He emphasized the need to safeguard the electoral process from any strategy or tactic that would give the impression of a circus, expressing concern over the practice of surprising voters with sudden changes in candidates.

Adiong stressed the importance of respecting the electorate’s right to be well-informed about candidates.

“If you really have the intention to enter into public service and serve the people, you must also give the people, allow them to really know you, who you are, ano po ‘yung experience mo in public service para ma-scrutinize po nila kayo,” Adiong pointed out.

“Para magkaroon din po sila ng well-informed decision pagdating po ng election at hindi ‘yung magugulat na lang sila sa mga kandidato kasi bigla-bigla nalang nag-iiba ang mga mukha na nakikita nila,” he added.

It can be recalled that in November 2015, then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte substituted for PDP-Laban’s initial presidential candidate for the 2016 elections, Martin Diño.

Diño withdrew his candidacy after the Comelec questioned his capacity to conduct a national campaign.

Duterte, who was subsequently substituted by his daughter Sara Duterte for mayor of Davao City, eventually won the 2016 presidential race by a landslide.

Fast forward to 2021, then-Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte filed a COC for vice president as a substitute for her then Lakas-CMD party-mate, Lyle Uy.