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Placeholders are Nuisance Candidates: Poll Watchdog Tells Comelec

It's plain mockery of the elections, says Kontra Daya.
by Erwin Colcol
Just now
Photo/s: Noel Celis, Agence France-Presse

Election watchdog Kontra Daya on Monday called on the Commission on Elections to declare "placeholders" as nuisance candidates so that they cannot be substituted, as the poll body was swamped with last-minute substitutions ahead of the Nov. 15 deadline.

Kontra Daya denounced how some candidates made a "mockery" of election rules, particularly those who withdrew and substituted for candidates for president and vice president.

"Since this is mainly an issue of propriety and not legality, Kontra Daya calls on the Comelec to redeem itself by unilaterally declaring these placeholders as nuisance candidates, effectively voiding the substitutions," it said in a statement.

The election watchdog said the political spectacle over the past few weeks could've been avoided had the Comelec declared those who were clearly placeholders as nuisance candidates based on the statements by candidates or their political parties.

After all, these candidates were never serious about their candidacies in the first place --- a ground for them to be declared "nuisance", it added.

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"Had Comelec decided swiftly and decisively, substitution would not have been allowed, sparing the public from the political maneuverings of the rich and powerful," Kontra Daya said.

The Omnibus Election Code allows substitution if after the last day of COC filing, the original candidate dies, withdraws, or is disqualified, so long as the substitute candidate comes from the same party.

A mere statement that a candidate is only a placeholder, however, is not enough grounds to declare him or her as nuisance, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez earlier said, as the lack of "bona fide" intention to run needs to be proven.

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Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Saturday withdrew his candidacy for president under PDP-Laban. While he claimed that he was serious about running for president, he also was willing to be substituted by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Duterte-Carpio eventually withdrew her reelection bid in Davao City and filed her candidacy for vice president under Lakas-CMD, substituting for a lesser known candidate which the party initially fielded.

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'Do I Look Like a Mockery to You?': Candidate Substitution, Explained

Are 'Placeholders' Nuisance Candidates? Comelec Says Not Necessarily

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