Comelec: Substitution option cannot be removed

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippine, October 9) — A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official maintained the substitution option for candidates cannot be removed and that there is nothing wrong with it.

"We cannot do that. Why will you not allow them to substitute? Even before our 1987 Constitution, substitution was already allowed," Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon told CNN Philippines' The Final Word.

Guanzon cited the case of the late Senator Gaudencio Antonino, who died in a plane crash during an election year and had to be replaced by his wife.

"They should be allowed to substitute. What is wrong with that? The people will vote for whoever they want anyway," she added.

In an earlier interview, two political analysts said the option to substitute should now be removed, with one calling it "an outdated provision because it is based on the idea that political parties are the way we organize our politics."

READ: Time to scrap 'deceptive' substitution scheme for aspiring candidates - analysts

This, as supporters of Davao Mayor Sara Duterte remain hopeful she would still change her mind and run for president next year. If this were to happen, the presidential daughter could replace Sen. Bato dela Rosa - the standard bearer of the ruling PDP-Laban party. The former police chief submitted his certificate of candidacy on the last day of filing.

Guanzon said there's no legal obstacle for the Davao mayor's substitution as she can still withdraw her COC for reelection, take her oath before PDP-Laban, and replace dela Rosa.

All in all, there are 97 presidential aspirants and 29 vice presidential hopefuls. Voluntary substitution is allowed until Nov. 15, and the final list of candidates for the 2022 elections will be released in December.

READ: LIST: National post aspirants who filed COCs for 2022