Substitution, adoption of guest candidates not good for democracy - Atienza

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 19) — House Deputy Speaker and vice presidential aspirant Lito Atienza is against the substitution scheme and the adoption of guest candidates outside political parties ahead of the 2022 polls.

Atienza told CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday that such political strategies only threaten the country's democracy.

He said the Commission on Elections must stop the "abnormal" substitution scheme which allows a temporary candidate to be someone else's proxy until the November 15 deadline.

"Pag-file mo, ‘yun na ‘yun. Hindi ‘yung pag-file mo, nagpo-proxy ka pa lang for somebody else. Nauuso na yan," he said.

[Translation: When you file your candidacy, that should be it. You should not proxy for somebody else. It has become common nowadays.]

"That's not good for democracy. This is a demo-crazy that we are witnessing," he added.

Section 77 of the Omnibus Election Code allows a candidate of a registered or accredited party to be substituted in case of death, disqualification, or withdrawal, with the latter implying that anyone who voluntarily backs out of the race can opt for replacement.

Atienza also noted that adopting guest candidates outside one's political party is a toleration of the lack of loyalty of politicians, who may end up pursuing their own interests when they secure the posts they are aiming for.

"When you lack loyalty when you file your certificate (of candidacy), you will never have loyalty after winning," he said.

However, the Manny Pacquiao and Lito Atienza tandem under the PROMDI political party is dominated by guest candidates, such as re-electionists Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, Richard Gordon, former senators Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda, former Senate secretary Lutgardo Barbo, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, labor leader Elmer Labog, broadcaster Raffy Tulfo, and former vice president Jejomar Binay.

RELATED: Labor and rights leaders, reelectionists part of Pacquiao’s senatorial slate 

Binay, Gordon, Escudero, Villanueva, and Zubiri happen to be guest candidates of the Leni Robredo-Kiko Pangilinan tandem. The five, plus Legarda, are also part of the Ping Lacson-Tito Sotto tandem.