Comelec concludes substitution of candidates for 2016 polls

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expected to come up with the final lists of candidates for both national and local posts after the deadline of substitution for withdrawing candidates.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is expected to conclude the accepting of substitutions for withdrawing candidates until 5 p.m on Thursday (December 10).

Only candidates who are members of a political party or a coalition can be substituted.  This means that any candidate who withdraws from the elections after December 10 will no longer be allowed to get a substitute.

According to the Comelec, setting a deadline for substitution is imperative for ballot printing which will commence on January next year. There are 1,953 versions of the ballot specific to each legislative district in the country.

But in the cases of Sen. Grace Poe and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who both face legal challenges before the Comelec, the poll body remains to have the last say whether or not their names will be included in the final list of candidates for president.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the practice is to include the names of candidates even if there’s a possibility they may be dropped, as it may be easier to invalidate votes casted for them.

In case of death of any candidate or disqualification after the deadline for substitution — given that the candidate is a member of a political party or a coalition — he or she may still be substituted by someone with the same surname until noontime of the election day on May 9.

CNN Philippines' JC Gotinga contributed to this report.