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Final 2022 presidential-VP list known only on Nov. 15

04:00 AM September 21, 2021

After the Oct. 8 deadline for the filing of certificates of candidacy, Comelec will still be unable to produce the final list of official candidates in the May 2022 elections.

Resolution 10420, first promulgated in September, 2018, and later amended, allows “substitute candidates” for President down to councilors, if the original candidates withdraw, die or are disqualified before the deadline set for every election.

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For the 2016 elections, the substitution deadline was set on Dec. 10, 2015, which the winner, President Rodrigo Duterte, availed of. For the 2019 polls, it was moved to Nov. 29, 2018. This year, Comelec set the final date on Nov. 15.

This substitution rule stokes heated speculations, varying opinions on the final Presidential and Vice-Presidential aspirants. But by far, the “dream unity ticket” of both administration and opposition have all been shattered.

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Senators Ping Lacson and Tito Sotto first declared their candidacy under the revived Partido Reporma of former defense secretary Renato de Villa, and now headed by its new party president, former Speaker and former PDP-Laban president Pantaleon Alvarez.

Former senator Bongbong Marcos was recently endorsed by Partido Federal and has confirmed to run under his father’s party Kilusan ng Bagong Lipunan.

Vice President Leni Robredo continues to hope against hope for a united opposition among anti-administration candidates. She is bound to fail and may end up running alone under the Sambayan1, Liberal party and the Duterte critics.

Sen. Richard Gordon is also determined to run under his Bagumbayan party with support from his nationwide Red Cross network.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is running, bolted the formidable National Unity Party (NUP) which coalesced with Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Isko is new party president of Aksyon Demokratiko founded by former senator Raul Roco. Businessmen and candidates from opposition and other political groups are gravitating to his side.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, another Duterte critic, is the presidential standard bearer of PDP-Laban (Koko Pimentel faction), but this is subject to Comelec arbitration. He has no candidate yet for vice president and has only one candidate for senator.

The PDP-Laban Cusi faction nominated Sen. Bong Go as presidential candidate with President Duterte as his vice presidential candidate. Go has declined but Duterte has formally accepted. Duterte said he wanted to see the “continuity of his efforts”, even if he is not giving the direction. This triggered his daughter Sara’s announcement that only one Duterte will run, and she will just run for reelection as Davao mayor.

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Sara revealed his father advised her to take Go as vice-presidential candidate in what she called “a not pleasant event.” She dared his father and Go to disclose their political plans. She also castigated PDP (Pimentel faction) for its sad state and sitcom-like party disarray. She declared she would not be a “last-minute” substitution, being a non-member of PDP-Laban or any national party. But her social media blogs asking her to run for President are alive and kicking.

As I said, Nov. 15 is the last day of reckoning. By that time, Comelec would have resolved the PDP-Laban issue. What if the Cusi faction wins, and the existing 2019 coalition between PDP and Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) becomes venue for a substitution? In the unlikely event that Pacquiao faction wins, then that is the end of the Bong Go-Duterte tandem together with the Sara candidacy.

So, we must follow closely unfolding political events. First, under which party will Sara Duterte file her certificate of candidacy as mayor? Will it be HNP? Second, there is a pending application of HNP to become a national party since it fielded 8 winning senators in 2019 and installed House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco through a coup and an HNP coalition. These big moves more than qualify it to become a national party. If Comelec grants the “national classification” to HNP, then Sara, as a party member, can substitute on the last day in answer to massage public clamor. The newly resolved PDP-Laban leadership will then give way and follow.

My view is that today and on or before Nov. 15, we, the public at large, can only watch with bated breath to see what will really happen.

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TAGS: 2022 elections, column, Jake maderazo, opinion
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