Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque suggested cutting short the period between the last day of the filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) and the start of the election period if people really want to do away with the substitution of election candidates.
Roque made the statement following calls to abolish the substitution system as it is being abused by “indecisive” candidates.
The system also recently became controversial as many candidates opted to back out and have substitutes including Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who will now run for vice president, her father’s long-time aide Senator Bong Go who will now pursue the presidency, and Roque himself who will run for Senate.
In his last Palace press briefing on Monday, November 15, Roque gave an alternative after he was asked if he supports the calls to abolish the substitution system.
“What I will support is to shorten the period from the time of filing of the certificate of candidacy and the election period,” he said.
“Wala po akong nakikitang dahilan kung bakit napakatagal naman yung last day of filing at tsaka yung start ng election period. Dapat po siguro paikliin ang period na ‘yan if we are to do away with the substitution (I don’t see any reason why there has to be a long period between the last day of filing and the start of the election period. Perhaps we should shorten that if we are to do away with the substitution),” he added.
He suggested moving the last day of the COCs to November instead of October in the future elections.
“Kinakailangan lang naman yung lead time para mag-print ng balota, eh gawin nating once and for all November na siguro nang maalis na yung substitution (We just need a lead time to print the ballots so why not we make the last day of filing in November so we can do away with the substitution once and for all)?” he said.
Despite this, Roque does not think that the substitution system is being abused; nor is there anything wrong with it.
“Nasa batas po ‘yan. Legal po ‘yan. So ‘pag legal po, walang pag-abuso (It’s in the law. It’s legal. So if it’s legal, there’s no abuse happening),” he said.