MANILA, Nov 10 (Mabuhay) — Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte may run for a national post in Eleksyon 2022 but not under her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday.

“Political party po ‘yan [Hugpong ng Pagbabago] pero regional. So hindi siya puwedeng tumakbo sa national level except as an independent candidate,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said.

Mayor Sara, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, filed for reelection last month, but withdrew it on Tuesday. She did not give an explanation but just said her brother Sebastian “Baste” Duterte, incumbent Davao City vice mayor, will substitute for her for the mayoralty bid.

Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte meanwhile withdrew his reelection bid on Tuesday before Sara did, and he nominated Davao City Councilor Melchor Quitain Jr. as his substitute.

Jimenez said Mayor Sara has to be a member of the same political party of the person she will substitute for, in case she will do so.

“Ang kailangan lamang ay maging member siya ng political party noong taong isa-substitute niya. Ibig sabihin hahalili siya sa ibang tao, kailangan kapartido siya ng taong ‘yon,” he said.

Article IX, Section 77 of  Omnibus Election Code provides that: “If after the last day for the filing of certificates of candidacy, an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause, only a person belonging to, and certified by, the same political party may file a certificate of candidacy to replace the candidate who died, withdrew or was disqualified.”

Mayor Sara however, if she will indeed substitute for someone who already filed a certificate of candidacy (COC) for a national post, will have to be a member of the same political party on or before November 15, Jimenez said.

“Basta on or before November 15, kailangan party member na siya,” the Comelec spokesperson said.

Under the Comelec’s calendar for Eleksyon 2022, substitution for a candidate in a national or local post can be filed from the end of COC filing period until November 15, 2021.

Jimenez said so far nobody has filed a substitution yet for the presidential and vice presidential posts.

“Sa ngayon po, wala pa. Inaantabayanan natin ‘yan over the next few days,” he added.

Jimenez earlier explained that substitutions of candidates can be made for voluntary and involuntary withdrawals.

A voluntary withdrawal occurs when an aspirant decides to quit the electoral race, while involuntary withdrawal refers to the death or disqualification of the aspirant who filed his COC.

“Voluntary withdrawal is still possible prior to November 15, and if there is voluntary withdrawal prior to November 15, then they can be substituted by a party-mate,” Jimenez said.

This rule is also applied to aspirants who died or were disqualified before November 15.

Substitutions can also be made beyond November 15, 2021 but only for candidates on the final list who died and were disqualified.

Also, these candidates can only be substituted by a person with the same surname until mid-day of the election day or on May 9, 2022.(MNS)

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