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ROUGH CUTS |   Substitution and alliances for convenience

THE other day we saw and heard on television famous election lawyer Romulo Macalintal voicing out his sentiment and suggestion to have the substitution of candidates rule be scratched out from the law governing the filing of certificates of candidacies for elective positions.

     According to Macalintal this provision is taken advantage of by scheming political party leaders to conceal the identities of their final candidates, especially for President. We are one with the election lawyer in his observation. In fact we have correctly predicted this scheme to have been used by the leaders of the party which was used by the incumbent President in upsetting the balance of chances of winning of the other earlier candidates for president in the 2016 national election.

     By the way what is this candidate substitution rule? It allows a candidate (one who has already filed his or her COC) to withdraw his/her candidacy and let a fellow party member take over the vacated slot.  

     For the May 2022 national elections the substitution deadline is November 15, 2021, a good one month plus for those who are contemplating to take over a candidacy to fine tune the scheme perhaps to work on Game Plans A, B, or C if necessary. And in all likelihood the same game plan is going to be resorted to between now and November 15, 2021. So it is apparent that both the administration and the dominant opposition parties are now engaging in what could be a battle of nerves; keeping secret their final candidate for President until the last hour of the COC filing deadline and eventually to the substitution deadline.

     Yes, both the administration and the dominant opposition may have already a candidate by tomorrow at 12 midnight. However, any keen political observer will know if the filer is already the one by merely going over their credential and their history as a politician of prominence.

     In the case of 1 Sambayan everybody is anticipating the final decision of Vice President Leni Robredo to carry the opposition flag. And if by tomorrow she will officially make her decision to run, then she could already be the main opposition candidate. And if the VP will categorically thumb down her nomination and somebody else of lesser carat in the opposition files for President, then very clearly, the filer is up for withdrawal between October 8 and November 15.

     And as far as the administration is concerned there are some unexpected twists with only those in the inner circle to be likely in the know the reason or reasons. One is the filing of the candidacy for President of a person who had just been declared national president of a party openly declaring support to Sara Duterte. Another is the swearing in of President Duterte’s top strategist Leoncio “Jun” Evasco as a card carrying member of Action Demokratiko of the late Senator Raul Roco. Well, he (Evasco) could not have done that without the approval of his President friend, or that he has severed his relation with the former. But there was never any such talk of parting of ways between the two.

     Meanwhile, if Sara really intends to run for President, she could just have her party be adopted (perhaps the right term is “absorbed”) by the one that has a candidate who has filed his or her COC and later the said Presidential bet withdraws on his own or supposedly prefers to give way to one (in the administration’s case, Sara) who has the organization and the resources to run a national campaign. Bingo! Sara would now be the candidate for President.  Or, as what we have been thinking for some time already, if she would wait for six more year for her to become even more ripe for the Presidency, she can simply enter into some kind of alliances for convenience with the Presidential bet of another party perceived to be allied with the administration. With such scheme her win could easily be assured. Therefore, the next stop after six years is for Sara’s presidential run. With such Game plan, she can easily dodge any of the issues now being heaped on her father’s administration.

     Of course, if the Presidential daughter is not worried of the mucks hurled against her father to also splatter her, then the substitution rule could very well work in her favor. And we know that this is being explored by her party’s and the administration’s strategists for the forthcoming elections.

     The question is, who between the administration and the dominant opposition has the better strategy and who has perfected their different game plans?

     Let us to see, according to the late Davao senator Landring Almendras.



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