Rodriguez vows to refile two electoral reform bills in the 19th Congress

House Deputy Speaker Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has promised to refile two electoral reform bills in the 19th Congress: one to ban the substitution of candidates in national and local elections; and another that declares incumbent officials as automatically resigned upon filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for other positions.

Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez (Facebook)

“These twin measures aim to further purify our electoral process. They are intended to put an end to practices by politicians and political parties that put in doubt the integrity of our elections,” said the Cagayan De Oro 2nd legislative district solon in a statement on Monday, June 20.

Rodriguez,in the 18th Congress,principally authored House Bills (HB) 10380 and 10381 which sought to implement his proposed electoral reforms.

HB 10380 forbade political party candidate substitutions unless made following the original candidate’s death or disqualifications.

“Withdrawals could lead the voting public to believe that the candidate who withdrew, or the political party doing the substitution or the replacement candidate, is not really serious about the candidacy,” said Rodriguez in his statement, a call back to the HB 10380 explanatory note

HB10381 attempted to revert changes made by the Fair Elections Act of 2001 to the Omnibus Election Code in order to automatically designate incumbent officials as resigned if they were to file their COCs for positions other than which they currently hold.

“It would prevent incumbents from using their office, personnel, public funds and property, and influence to promote their candidacy. It would also put aspirants, whether bureaucrats who are forced to resign under the present law, and incumbent elective officials on equal footing,

“It is high time to reinstate the repealed provision. This would force aspirants to take running for higher office seriously and to stop manipulating and mocking the electoral process. It would also make more people believe in the integrity of our elections,” he continued, referring to HB10381.

Both HBs 10380 and 10381 were not passed in the Lower House and have remained pending with the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms since November 2021.

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