Lawyer: Limit on poll bets' substitution to end mockery of PH polls

By Ferdinand Patinio

May 16, 2024, 4:27 pm

<p>Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal <em>(Photo courtesy of House of Representatives)</em></p>

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal (Photo courtesy of House of Representatives)

MANILA – The Commission of Elections' (Comelec) new rule limiting the period allowed for the substitution of candidates will put an to the abuse of the practice, which results in a mockery of the country's electoral process, an election lawyer said Thursday.

In a statement, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the Comelec's decision "puts an end to such a nefarious political strategy" used by some politicians to advance their personal interests.

He said Comelec's move is supported by a Supreme Court ruling on the case of Federico vs. Comelec (GR No. 199612, 22 January 2013), wherein it upheld the poll body’s authority to set a deadline for substitution as part of its constitutional mandate.

"According to the Supreme Court, setting a deadline for substitution is legally justified since withdrawal is voluntary, and a candidate should have had sufficient time to ponder his candidacy," Macalintal said.

He reminded politicians to uphold the people's interest and not their personal and political agenda in participating in electoral exercises.

"These candidates should be taught the lesson that election involves public interests, and not only their political and personal interests," he said.

On Wednesday, the Comelec en banc approved the proposal of chairperson George Garcia to limit the period for candidates' substitution due to withdrawal within the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the 2025 midterm elections, set on Oct. 1 to 8 this year.

In the May 2022 polls, the Comelec has allowed the substitution due to the withdrawal of candidates until Nov. 15, 2021. (PNA)