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Leni: No substitution for us, abusing it a mockery of law

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Vice President Leni Robredo said for sure there will be no substitution that will take place for her and her runningmate, Senator Francis Pangilinan, before the Commission on Elections by November 15.

Under the law, if a candidate withdraws, dies, or is disqualified by final judgment, political parties can field a substitute who can file a Certificate of Candidacy by November 15.

“For us for sure no substitution will take place, when we filed (our COCs) we were determined to finish this”, Robredo said at a press conference in Bacolod City Friday, November 5.

The law on substitution has been abused a lot, when it is for very specific purposes such as death, disability or for one who has undergone severe suffering, it should not be used to put in a “placeholder “ to be substituted at the last minute, she said.

Robredo said substitution is a mockery of election laws, which should be reviewed to prevent it from being used to satisfy political ends.

It is clear in the Constitution that it should be used only for very, very extraordinary circumstances, she said.

Robredo denied that her camp has anything to do with a disqualification case filed by human rights advocates against presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for having been convicted for tax evasion 26 years ago.

“I does not makes sense, if we wanted him disqualified it should have been done during our battle for the vice presidency (in 2016),” she said.

“If the purpose of the disqualification is to remove him from this contest, it is not necessary, we battled in 2016 and won without having to do that,” Robredo said.

“I cannot comment further on that because there is a pending case, but they should not point to us because we do not fight like that,” she said.

COVID PLATFORM

Meanwhile, Robredo said her team has come out with its own COVID response platform.

If given the chance to be elected president the first thing that she will do is to control the pandemic and mitigate its effects, Robredo said. “We cannot move on if every few months we have a surge,” she said.

Since March last year they have been making suggestions to the national government on how to improve COVID response initiatives, Robredo said.

“All of the international bodies who assess COVID response initiatives of many different countries have constantly tagged the Philippines as the least resilient and this is something that we should not be proud of,” she said.

“The COVID response of the national government is very wanting and it is our obligation to point this out, because everyone is suffering,” she said.

On the proposal to make COVID vaccination mandatory, Robredo asked”When you say mandatory does not mean there will be penalties for those who refuse to be vaccinated?”

Instead penalizing it is better to incentivize, she said.

ADDRESSING INSURGENCY

Robredo also said that the insurgency problem in the country cannot be addressed through violence, a holistic approach to get to the root of the problem, which is poverty and lack of empowerment, is needed.

We have seen that when there a lot of upheavals and suffering among the poor the insurgency worsens, she pointed out.

She has always advocated for people’s councils in many different parts of the country that gives a voice to the poor, Robredo said.

Resolving the problems of the country will be faster if the people are consulted and it comes from the bottom and not from the top, she said.*

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