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Comelec: Candidates can still be

By Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) | Updated October 14, 2015 - 12:00am
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CEBU, Philippines - Nothing is final yet even though an aspirant of an elective post has filed his certificate of
candidacy.
The Commission on Elections has made it clear that only at the start of the campaign period that the candidacy
of an aspirant is deemed official.
The campaign period for candidates for president, vice-president, senator and party-list groups participating in
the party-list system is from February 9 to May 7, 2016, while for members of the House of Representatives
and elective regional, provincial, city, and municipal officials would be from March 25 until May 7, 2016.
Lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, Comelec-Cebu provincial supervisor, said that an aspirant may still be
substituted for the reason of death, disqualification, or withdrawal.
He said a would-be candidate who withdraws his candidacy after the last day for the filing of COC may be
substituted by a candidate nominated by the same political party.
From the filing until December 10, 2015, a person with CONA (Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance) can
be substituted by anybody nominated by the party. But an independent (candidate) cannot be substituted, he
told The FREEMAN.

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A person who has withdrawn his COC for a position is no longer eligible for any other position as provided for
under the Comelec guidelines in the filing of COCs.
In case of death or disqualification by final judgment, Castillano said a substitute may still file his COC up to the
mid-day of election day, provided that the substitute and the substituted have the same surnames.
The reason is that after December 10, the Comelec will start printing the ballots. Di na mi ka-change, he
explained.
Under Comelec guidelines, if the death or disqualification occurs between the day before and mid-day of
election day, the substitute candidate may file his COC with any Board of Election Inspectors in the political
subdivision where he is a candidate, still following the same surnames rule.
A candidate may be disqualified if he commits election offenses specified under section 68 of the Omnibus
Election Code, including giving of money or other material consideration to influence, induce or corrupt the
voters or public officials performing electoral functions, commission of acts of terrorism to enhance his
candidacy, or if he is a permanent resident of or an immigrant to a foreign country, among others.
Castillano said petitions for disqualification are filed within five days after the last day of the filing of COCs.
He cited as cases of substitution those of Richard Gomez, who was disqualified from running for a
congressman in Ormoc, Leyte, and of the late congressman Erico Aumentado, who died before the campaign
period for the 2013 midterm elections.
Gomez was substituted by his wife Lucy Torres and Aumentado by his son Aristotle. (FREEMAN