Senators on Monday joined the call to uphold the spirit of the country's election laws as they filed a measure seeking to ban the substitution of a candidate who voluntarily withdraws from the race.
Under the Senate measure, substitution will only be allowed when the original candidate dies, becomes incapacitated, or is disqualified. Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian led four other senators in filing Senate Bill 2439 seeking to amend Article IX, Sec. 77 of the Omnibus Election Code.
“Sagrado ang balota. Kaya dapat lamang na pahalagahan natin ang paghahain ng kandidatura tuwing eleksyon," Gatchalian said.
“Maliwanag ang intensyon ng batas. Ito ay ang gawing mas maayos ang ating halalan at transparent. Naaabuso lang ng iba. Kapag nag-file ka, yun na, hindi na dapat palitan. Papalitan ka lang kung ikaw ay namatay o kung ikaw ay na-disqualify,” he added.
The current law allows the substitution of a candidate if after the last day of the candidacy filing, the official candidate of a political party dies, withdraws, or is disqualified, as long as the substitute candidate comes from the same party.
Co-authors of the measure include Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri, Senators Nancy BInay, Grace Poe, and Joel Villanueva.
Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez filed a similar measure in the House of Representatives, as well as another bill declaring an incumbent candidate as automatically resigned after candidacy filing.
The deadline for candidacy substitution for the 2022 elections is on Nov. 15.
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