DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio needs to leave her political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), and join a national party before she can run for a national position in the 2022 polls, according to the Commission on Elections.

In a virtual briefing on Wednesday, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez explained the presidential daughter cannot run for president, vice president, or the Senate under HNP since it is a regional political party.

“If you are HNP, and you are running for a national position, you would be running as an independent,” Jimenez said.

To remedy the situation, he said Carpio must join a national political party that already has an aspiring presidential candidate.

She could then become a substitute for the said candidate.

The renewed possibility of the President’s daughter gunning for a national position sparked anew speculation that some of the Duterte allies who filed COCs for president or vice president may simply be “placeholder” candidates for her.

Speculation that Carpio will be attempting to run for president or vice president surfaced last Tuesday after she withdrew her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) as reelectionist Davao mayor.

No less than her father, President Duterte, said he is already supporting his daughter’s possible presidential bid.

As of press time, Carpio has yet to announce her plans after withdrawing her COC as mayor.

The deadline for the voluntary substitution of candidates is on November 15, 2021.

In anticipation of the possible surge of last-minute substitutions, Jimenez said their office will remain open this Saturday.

“We know as a matter of history that Filipinos love the last days. We are concerned that they may flock to the offices to withdraw since personal appearance is a requirement,” Jimenez said.

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