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People’s Reform Party can’t substitute Roque in May polls, says Comelec spox

The People’s Reform Party of former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque—who withdrew his candidacy for the May polls on Friday—cannot substitute him for the May polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said Friday.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said this is because the deadline for the political parties to substitute a candidate who voluntarily withdraws his or her candidacy has already lapsed last November 29, 2018.

“Substitution beyond November 29 can only be done in cases of death and disqualification,” Jimenez said.

“Ang voluntary withdrawal, kahit kelan, puwedeng gawin ‘yan. Pero ‘yung pagkakaroon ng substitution [sa voluntary withdrawal], hanggang November 29 lang talaga,” Jimenez added.

Earlier in the say, Roque’s camp formalized his withdrawal from the race by submitting a Statement of Withdrawal before the Comelec office in Manila where he also filed his certificate of candidate. Roque cited health reasons, particularly unstable angina coronary disease.

“In the days since the procedure, my family and I have been forced to confront the reality of my physical situation and what it ultimately means for my aspirations to public service,” Roque, a former human rights lawyer, international law professor and a representative of Kabayan party-list, said in a statement.

Before the filing of certificate of candidacy, President Rodrigo Duterte said that Roque won’t win in the May polls because the soldiers did not like him.

But when he still proceeded to file his candidacy, Roque maintained that he never felt disrespected over the President’s comments, and he being apparently out of the loop of the President’s activities before he left his post, including a hospital visit by the Chief Executive.

“There are things that I did not know that affected the discharge of my functions, but truth is my natural advocacy as far as I am concerned. At any time during my stint as presidential spokesperson, there is just at least one instance that I thought I could, perhaps, do my job better,” Roque said then.

“All I wanted was for me to do the best that I can, but there is absolutely no instance that I felt offended over what the President said,” Roque added. — RSJ, GMA News