Ban on substituting bets with COC withdrawal



The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has made a unanimous decision to prohibit candidate substitution based on withdrawal after the weeklong filing of certificate of candidacy (COC), officials announced on Thursday.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia emphasized the importance of transparency in candidacy, stating, “Candidates, lay your cards on the table. Be up front about your candidacy and there will be no more changes. If you’re really decided, then lay it out at once. File your candidacy.”

According to Comelec spokesman Rex Laudiangco, the filing of COC for the 2025 midterm elections will take place from October 1 to 8. Additionally, groups participating in the party-list elections may file a Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance during this period.

Moreover, the Comelec will only allow withdrawal and substitution from October 1 to 8. After this period, withdrawal with the intention to substitute will not be permitted, Laudiangco stated.

Substitution of candidates will only be allowed on grounds of death or disqualification, with the substitute candidate required to have the same surname as the replaced candidate and belong to the same political party.

To give voters ample time to assess the candidates, the official list of those running will be released early, and a certified list will be posted in all Comelec offices soon after the end of COC filing. Additionally, the list of candidates will be available on the Comelec website for public scrutiny.

Despite the absence of an enabling law, the Comelec is moving forward with plans for internet voting in the May 2025 elections for Filipino voters abroad. The decision was made following a thorough consideration of the implications and the expectations of overseas Filipino voters.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III had expressed reservations about internet voting in the upcoming elections, but Comelec Chairman Garcia affirmed the importance of proceeding with the plan to meet the expectations of Filipino voters abroad.

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