Poll lawyer warns against substitution for losing party groups

Asia's Tech News Daily

THE tandem of Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Christopher “Bong” Go, presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan or PDP-Laban (Cusi wing), cannot be substituted if the party loses its petition before the Commission on (Comelec) seeking the disqualification of the Pacquiao wing of the PDP-Laban.

Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said on Thursday that the same would be true for candidates of the Pacquiao wing, adding that candidates of the losing party wing would be declared as “independent” candidates.

“Those who will substitute [in the Cusi wing] should make sure that the party will win its case before the Comelec,” Macalintal added.

Macalintal said that the intra-party dispute needed to be settled to determine which of the two wings will be recognized as the legal representatives of the PDP-Laban in the 2022 elections.

The Commission en banc is expected to come out with its decision on or before the November 15 deadline for the substitution of candidates of accredited political parties.

The Cusi group filed the petition before the Comelec on September 7.

A Comelec order, dated Sept. 22, 2021, directed the Pacquio wing to comment on the Cusi wing’s petition within 5 days upon receipt.

Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao was the first to file a certificate of candidacy for president, together with Party list Rep. Joselito “Lito” Atienza as running mate.

Dela Rosa filed his CoC hours before the October8 deadline for the filing of CoC lapsed.

Speculations are ripe that Dela Rosa would eventually withdraw his candidacy for another candidate.

In the event that Dela Rosa withdraws, his replacement candidate should also be a member of the PDP-Laban as provided for by Comelec rules.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that under the rules, substitution can only be made by persons in the same party and “the person to be substituted has to withdraw and there has to be a new CONA or certification of nomination and acceptance by the person to be substituted.

As to the effects of filing a CoC/CONA or CON-CAN, an aspirant holding a public appointive office or position, active members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other officers and employees in government-owned or-controlled corporations, is considered “ipso facto” or automatically resigned from the office and must vacate the same at the start of the regular officer hours of the day he/she filed the COC/CONA.

An aspirant who filed a CoC for more than one office shall not be eligible for any of them. A sworn statement of cancellation may be filed though until the end of the filing period or Oct.8.

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