The family of the late OFW Club party-list Rep. Roy Señeres has the option to name a substitute for the former ambassador or carry on his wishes to totally withdraw from the presidential race, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said he has discussed the matter with the brother of the late lawmaker and was told that the Señeres family will come up with a decision on Tuesday after consultations with other family members.
Señeres died Monday morning from cardiac arrest. He was 68.
The former lawmaker, through his lawyer Candy Rivas, withdrew his candidacy for President on Friday, citing health reasons.
He said he was advised by his doctors to avoid stress and complications from diabetes.
The commission’s legal department, however, did not accept his certificate of withdrawal because under the law, a candidate has to personally file his letter of withdrawal.
Bautista said that in case of death, substitution is allowed provided that the substitute will come from the same party and has the same surname.
“We will know tomorrow what would be their manifestation, whether they will prefer to ask one of the children or the brother to substitute for Congressman Señeres, or maybe they will have just a motion to withdraw the candidacy,” he added.
Señeres has two sons, Roy Jr. and Christian, and a daughter, Ana. Anyone of them may substitute for the late congressman provided that he or she is qualified to run for President.
According to his certificate of candidacy (COC) for the country’s top post, Señeres represents the Partido ng Manggagawa at Magsasaka.
Under the law, substitution in case of death of a particular candidate is allowed until midday of the elections.
During the 1967 mid-term elections, the patriarch of the Antonino family, Gaudencio Antonino, ran as an independent candidate for senator but died in a helicopter crash on the eve of the election.
Gaudencio was substituted by his wife, Magnolia, who ranked third, behind the late Senators Jose Roy and Benigno Aquino Jr.
The Comelec chief explained that if Señeres is substituted, his name will be retained in the ballot even if somebody else is running in his stead.
In Malacañang, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government recognizes Señeres’ public service. Señeres served as ambassador and labor attaché to the United Arab Emirates, and chairman of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
“We extend our condolences and sympathy to the family of former Ambassador Señeres,” Coloma said in a statement.
In Batac, Ilocos Norte, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also expressed sadness with the passing of Señeres, whom he described as the “champion of OFWs.”
“I’d like to commiserate with the family of Rep. Roy Señeres who joined our Maker this day. His life was one of dedication and service to his countrymen,” Marcos said.
“He championed the rights of overseas Filipino workers [OFWs] as a diplomat and fought for the causes of the oppressed labor sector as chairman of the [NLRC],” the senator added.
Senator Grace Poe also` extended her condolences to the Señeres family.
“May we offer some time off to remember the Ambassador/Congressman’s words, deeds and achievements,” she said.
“He leaves a legacy as a champion of the welfare of OFWs. He will be remembered for his cause to make better working conditions for Filipino workers through their security of tenure. Our prayers are with him and his family.”
Senator Francis Escudero said he was deeply saddened and shocked by the sudden demise of Señeres.
“Ambassador Roy Señeres is a big loss to the OFWs and their families, whose causes and concerns he had fought for. I appeal to our people to pray for the eternal repose of Ambassador Señeres, as well as for strength for his loved ones during this difficult time,” Escudero said.
With JAIME R. PILAPIL AND JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA