The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday, May 16, said former Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon and former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson Celine Pialago have neither been named as nominees nor substitutes for the party-list (PL) groups they are supporting.
“Per latest info, Law Department has not yet received any document pertaining to withdrawal and substitution of nominees for PWD and Frontliners PL,” Comelec Acting Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco informed reporters.
Guanzon and Pialago have been supporting the party-list groups P3PWD and Frontliners Ang Bida, respectively.
Based on unofficial and partial results, P3WD is ranked 24th, while, Frontliners Ang Bida is in the 81st spot
The former commissioner posted on her Facebook page last May 14 a video interview of her wherein she said P3PWD first nominee Grace Yeneza has expressed her desire to resign from the party-list group.
“Dahil nga ang anak niya ay may cancer, she already informed the board na she will resign eventually and I will substitute (Because Yeneza’s child has cancer, she informed the board that she will resign and eventually I will substitute),” Guanzon said.
During a press briefing on Monday, Laudiangco reminded that under Republic Act No. 7149, also known as the Party-List System Act, “wala pong mauupo sa (no one can sit in) any winning party-lists unless they have submitted their certificate of nomination and that certificate of nomination has been accepted.”
The spokesperson said the Comelec already gave party-list nominees until Oct. 21, 2021 to file their certificates of candidacy (COC) and up to Nov. 15, 2021 to file any withdrawals and substitutions for their nominees.
“Nov. 16 onwards up to midday of the elections yan na lang po yung kino-consider natin yung death, yung incapacity (Nov. 16 onwards up to midday of the May 9 elections, the Comelec will only recognize substitutions of nominees in the event of deaths and incapacity),” he said.
All of these, Laudiangco stressed still requires the approval of the Comelec.
“So hindi pwede kung sino-sino lang po ang uupo (So not just anyone will be allowed to sit),” he stated.
On the other hand, the lawyer assured that substitutions can still occur after the Comelec has proclaimed the winning party-list groups.
“If ever there are cases like this for sure the commission will make a determination and that determination will be through a hearing po,” he explained.
During the hearing, Laudiangco said the Comelec will determine if there was consent with the nominees to drop and that they were not forced to leave to be substituted.
Meanwhile, Laudiangco said the Comelec will hopefully make a partial proclamation this May 19 of the top winning party-list groups.
“It will only be limited to those who are sure to have garnered the guaranteed seats,” he said.