Press Release
November 20, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1179:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on last Monday's substitution rigodon

What was supposedly a law that gave political parties the privilege to substitute candidates for legitimate reasons became an opportunistic tool for party-hoppers the likes of which we have never seen before. They include Sara Duterte, Bong Go, and Rodrigo Duterte himself.

Their eventual candidacies in parties they were not even members of were facilitated by the rampant use of placeholders who were essentially nuisance candidates whose only purpose is to help prolong the power-haggling and political machinations taking place behind the Filipinos' collective back, and thereafter relinquish their candidacies to these party-hoppers.

To be sure, Sara was not even a member of Lakas-CMD until the day she filed for the position of VP. And neither were Bong Go and Duterte members of that forgettable party propped up by the Belgicas until the last minute of filing.

This is how the law on substitution was bastardized. The law is supposed to give political parties the opportunity for substitution. But when the substitute is not even a party member at the time of the filing of the original certificate to be substituted, the substitution should be deemed null. I firmly submit the substitute should already be a member of the party substituting at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy of the candidate to be substituted. If not, then the privilege of substitution by the political party should be deemed to have been lost. Substitution attaches as a privilege of political parties, not of individuals who were not even party members.

As bastardized by the Dutertes, the substitution law has served not the political parties, but party-hoppers who use the political parties for individual, not party interests. It does not help of course that Lakas-CMD and the Belgica party allowed themselves to be used in this patent mockery of election laws.

This has to end in this election cycle. Otherwise, there will always be Dutertes out there who will continue to exploit loopholes in election laws and use privileges accorded to political parties for their own individual interests.

(Access the handwritten version of Dispatch from Crame No. 1179, here: )

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