December 2, 2022

The Commission on Elections recorded a total of 71 withdrawals of certificate of candidacy and 15 substitution of candidates in the Cordillera in line with the 2022 national and local elections.

Comelec-Cordillera records show only Benguet did not log any changes in the list of candidates in the provincial level.

Records show Abra has the highest recorded number of withdrawals with 34 candidates and nine substitutions, followed by Kalinga with 20 withdrawals and four substitutions.

Apayao and Mountain Province have five withdrawals, Baguio City has four withdrawals and one substitution, and Ifugao with three withdrawals and one substitution. 

Incumbent Abra Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos has withdrawn his bid for reelection and was substituted by his wife, current La Paz Mayor Menchie Bernos. The solon will run for the mayoralty position in La Paz instead.

The solon is assured of winning after his lone rival, Fidel Belena, has withdrawn from the mayoral race.

Bernos’ wife is also assured of winning the congressional race after Up-John Palos and Derdrei Roce Ifurung withdrew from the race.

Ifurung decided to substitute Lagayan Mayor Jendricks Luna for the gubernatorial seat, while Erinio Eduardo will be substituted by former Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin also for the gubernatorial seat.

Tony Ulin has withdrawn for the vice governor seat and substituted by Rosario Bersamin. 

Still in Abra, there were two substitutions and three withdrawals in the race for board member while six filed for withdrawal and three for substitution in the mayoral race.

Records also show 19 candidates for councilors in various municipalities in Abra filed for withdrawal.

In Apayao, five candidates for councilors in Pudtol have withdrawn.

In Ifugao, Hazel Gayomo, who earlier filed for a council seat in Hingyon, has filed for the mayoralty position substituting Carlos Luglug who has withdrawn his bid while Gabriel Tuguinay has withdrawn from the council race in Lamut.

Conrado Dieza Jr., meanwhile, substituted Abelardo Hernaez for the gubernatorial seat in Kalinga while Oliver Acapen changed his mind to run for governor in Mountain Province.

In Baguio, former councilor Leandro Yangot Jr. substituted Jessie Palos for councilor.

Comelec-Cordillera Director Ederlino Tabilas said the candidates could still withdraw from the race but they can no longer be substituted as the deadline was set on Nov. 15.

Involuntary substitution may still happen beyond Nov. 15, but only in case of death or disqualification of any aspirant. The candidate could be replaced with any party mate or individual with the same surname. – Ofelia C. Empian

(Editors’ note: The printed version of this story carried a headline that reads: 75 substitutions, 15 withdrawals in CAR. The correct headline should be “71 withdrawals, 15 substitutions in CAR.”)