Friday deadline: Poll bets eye replacements

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Expect major shake-ups in certain local races until Friday, December 21, when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) allows most candidates to withdraw their electoral bids and get replacements.

In fact, Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr said on Thursday, December 20, that at least 50 local candidates have called him to say they want to withdraw.

Local candidates withdrawing their bids or substituting for those who are backing out can file their certificates at local Comelec offices until Friday. Withdrawal and substitution of senatorial candidacies will have to be filed at the poll body's central office in Intramuros.

The Comelec sets the deadline at 5 pm, Brillantes said in a tweet Friday morning.

Today, December 21, 2012, at 5:00 pm is the deadline for substitution of candidates by reason of withdrawal. — Sixto Brillantes Jr. (@ChairBrillantes) December 20, 2012

In Aurora, Senator Edgardo Angara has withdrawn his gubernatorial bid, giving way to his younger brother, Baler Mayor Arthur Angara. The senator's son, Aurora Rep Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, told Rappler his father was “really a reluctant candidate in the first place.”

Pangasinan's 3rd district, meanwhile, saw socialite Rosemarie "Baby" Arenas substituting for her reelectionist daughter, Rep Rachel Arenas, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The young Arenas cited a clamor for her mother to run.

Political talk show host Lynda Jumilla of ANC tweeted on Thursday that former Bataan congressman Felicito Payumo told her that unspecified candidates for governor and vice governor in his province were also considering getting replacements.

At the national level, Eduardo “Brother Eddie” Villanueva also replaced another candidate on Thursday, filing his senatorial bid after a “last-minute” decision.

A veteran election lawyer before heading the Comelec, Brillantes said substitution is a "valid tactic" based on the Omnibus Election Code. 

Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code says candidates who die, withdraw, or are disqualified may be replaced by “a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party.” The code allows substitution until midday of election day.

OK after Friday but...

Comelec Resolution No. 9518, which tackles the filing of candidacies for 2013, is more specific.

Promulgated last September 11, the resolution says a substitute candidate may file his or her certificate of candidacy (COC) by December 21. Then the Comelec may include the substitutes' names on the official ballots.

In certain cases, however, the Comelec will still allow substitutions after December 21, as mandated by the Omnibus Election Code.

From December 21 until midday of election day, May 13, 2013, a person may substitute for another candidate only if the latter dies or is disqualified by final judgment. The other condition is that the substitute and the substituted should have the same surnames.

The Comelec will entertain protests against substitute candidates within 5 days from the time the substitute filed his COC. –


Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at