‘Revisit the law’: Robredo thumbs down poll bet substitution due to withdrawal

Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, Oct. 27, agreed that it is time to revisit the law that allows the withdrawal of candidacy as a reason for the substitution of election bets, saying it's a “mockery” of the country’s election laws.

Vice President Leni Robredo (Mark Balmores/MANILA BULLETIN)

“Nakikita natin ‘yung nangyari nung 2016, nakita natin ngayon, naabuso siya in the sense na may placeholders na nilalagay. Hindi naman iyong ‘yung intent ng batas (We saw that what happened in 2016 is happening again now, it is being abused in a sense that there are placeholders. That is not the intent of the law),” she said during a media briefing in her home region of Bicol.

“Iyong intent ng batas, siguraduhin lang na kapag mayroong nangyaring ‘di inaasahan, mayroong remedy (The intent of the law is to make sure that if something unexpected happens, there is a remedy),” Robredo added.

The Vice President lamented how other candidates who are “indecisive” will simply put a “placeholder” to give them more time to decide if they will run or not.

“Ang pakiramdam ko, ina-ano nya, parang mockery siya ng election laws natin (I feel that it is a mockery of our election laws),” Robredo, who made a last-minute decision to run as the presidential candidate of the opposition, said.

“Agree ako na kailangang i-revisit. Agree ako na mayroon pa ding provision on substitution pero dapat i-limit ‘yung dahilan kung kailan siya ia-allow (I agree that we need to revisit. I agree that there should be a provision on substitution but we need to limit the reasons allowed),” she added.

READ: Enactment of bills prohibiting substitution of candidates urgent – Makabayan bloc

Senators this week filed a bill banning the option to substitute an electoral aspirant who voluntarily withdraws from the race.

The Omnibus Election Code allows the substitution of election candidates in case of death, disqualification, and withdrawal. The last one, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said, has been abused over the years.

It can be recalled that President Duterte did not file a certificate of candidacy (COC) in 2015. Instead, it was now Interior Undersecretary Martin Diño who filed a COC for president under the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban)

But in November 2015 of just before the end of the period for the substitution of candidates, Diño withdrew and was replaced by the former Davao City mayor.

This is the same scenario that supporters of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio hopes would happen this year, seeing that she had filed her candidacy as a reelectionist in their hometown instead of joining the Palace race.

READ: Comelec to solons: Come up with restrictions instead of banning substitution of candidates

She has until Nov. 15 to replace PDP-Laban standard-bearer Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, who openly said that the party is waiting for Duterte-Carpio to make a decision.