Who as filed a certificate of candidacy by himself or

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who as filed a certificate of candidacy by himself or through an accredited political party, aggroupment, or coalition parties. Clearly, the law requires that one must have validly filed a CoC in order to be considered a candidate. The requirement of having a CoC obtains even greater importance if one considers its nature. In particular, a CoC formalizes not only a person’s public declaration to run for office but evidences as well his or her statutory eligibility to be elected for the said post. In this regard, the CoC is the document which formally accords upon a person the status of a candidate in order for substitution to take place, as well as the precept that a person without a valid CoC is not considered as a candidate at all, it necessarily follows that if a person’s CoC had been denied due course to and/or cancelled, he or she cannot be validly substituted in the electoral process. The existence of a valid CoC is therefore a condition sine qua non for a disqualified candidate to be validly substituted. Proceeding from the foregoing discourse, it is evident that there lies a clear- cut distinction between a disqualification case under Section 68 and denial of due course to and/or cancellation of COC case under Section 78 vis-à-vis their respective effects on candidate substituition under Section 77. As explained in the case of Miranda v. Abaya (370 Phil, 642) (Miranda), a candidate who is disqualified under Section 68 can be validly substituted pursuant to Section 77 because he remains a candidate until disqualified; but a person whose CoC has been denied due course to and/or cancelled under Section 78 cannot be substituted because he is not considered a candidate. Stated differently, since there would be no candidate to speak of under a denial of due course to an/or cancellation of a CoC case, then there would be no candidate to be substituted; the same does not obtain, however, in a disqualification case since there remains to be a candidate to be substituted, although his ir her candidacy is discontinued. On this note, it is equally revelatory that Section 77 expressly enumerates the instances where substitution is permissible, that is when an official candidate of a registered or accredited political party “dies, withdraws or is disqualified for any cause.” Noticeably, material misrepresentation cases are not included in the said section and therefore, cannot be a valid basis to proceed with candidate substitution. In this case, it is undisputed that Richard was disqualified to run in the May 10, 2010 elections due to his failure to comply with the one year residency requirement. The confusion, however, stemmed from the use of the word “disqualified” in the February 17, 2010 Resolution of the COMELEC First Division, which was adopted by the COMELEC En Banc in granting the substitution of private respondent, and even further perpetuated by the HRET in denying the quo warranto petition. In short, a finding that Richard was merely disqualified ---- and not that his CoC
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