Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (File photo)

MANILA – A lawmaker on Monday said he is looking to refile in the next Congress the twin measures that aim to "purify" the electoral process by prohibiting the substitution of candidacy after the deadline for filing and making mandatory the resignation of an incumbent elective official running for another position.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said the two proposals aim to end practices and political parties that "put in doubt" the integrity of the elections.

He hoped that the incoming 19th Congress would approve the measures on its first or second year of session.

“I also hope that the incoming national leadership would support the bills for the sake of future elections,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

Rodriguez filed House Bills 10380 and 10381 in October last year, but the current Congress failed to pass them.

Under House Bill No. 10380, a political party would be prohibited from substituting any candidate unless the latter dies or is disqualified.

He cited the Omnibus Election Code, which allows the substitution of a candidate in case of death, disqualification or withdrawal of another aspirant.

He said while there is nothing wrong with substitution in case of death or disqualification, substitution because of withdrawal, or what others call voluntary substitution, they may pose serious questions and may lead to the manipulation and mockery of the election process.

“Withdrawals could lead the voting public to believe that the candidate who withdrew, or the political party doing the substitution or the replacement candidate, is not really serious about the candidacy,” he said.

Meanwhile, House Bill No. 10381 seeks to level the playing field among candidates by restoring the old provision in the Election Code that deemed an incumbent to be automatically resigned upon the filing of a certificate of candidacy for another position.

“It is high time to reinstate the repealed provision. This would force aspirants to take running for higher office seriously and to stop manipulating and mocking the electoral process. It would also make more people believe in the integrity of our elections,” Rodriguez said.

He said the old rule, if restored, would apply to all incumbent elective officials, whether running for higher or lower office.

“It would prevent incumbents from using their office, personnel, public funds and property, and influence to promote their candidacy. It would also put aspirants, whether bureaucrats who are forced to resign under the present law, and incumbent elective officials on equal footing,” he said. (PNA)